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Full text of "Publications of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society"

RE I- .'S HISTORICAL 
GENEALOGY COLLECTION 



llillHIlS 



Digitized by tine Internet Archive 
in 2014 

■ 



https://archive.org/details/publicationsofca01camb 



Cambridge Antiquarian Soc iety 

Quarto Publications 

NjBw Series. No. 1 

THE DUAL ORIGIN OF THE 
TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



JVith Two Maps 



BY 



ARTHUR GRAY, M.A. 



FELLOW AND TUTOR OF JESUS COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE 




CAMBRIDGE : 



PRINTED FOR THE CAMBRIDGE ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY 



SOLD BY DEIGHTON, BELL & CO. ; and BOWES & BOWES 
LONDON, GEORGE BELL AND SONS 



1908 



Price Three Shillings and Sixpence Net 



1782099 



THE DUAL ORIGIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



It is the business of this Communication to indicate the conditions under which 
the town of Cambridge came into being. The subject ranges over a wide ground, its 
treatment must of necessity be discursive, and the conclusions, in the almost complete 
absence of historical evidence, can be no more than probable. 

It will be understood that I deal with a time so dimly remote that record hardly 
reaches to it. There is no question here of the corporate origin of Cambridge. Long 
before King John granted the town to the burgesses in farm it had been regarded as 
one and indivisible. Already, in Doomsday Book, Burgum de Grentehrige j^ro uno hundret 
se defendit. In the eleventh century, for purposes fiscal and military, Cambridge is as 
clearly a unit as any hundred in the shire. 

But look at Cambridge with the eyes of a traveller who entered it by the Newmarket 
Road two hundred years ago and you will see that even then the town consisted locally 
of two practically distinct settlements. You will see a few houses fringing the road 
near Barnwell Abbey ; a few more lining it at the town end of Jesus Lane. Jesus 
College on the one hand, the Radegund Manor House and Sidney on the other are 
insulated in green closes. Next the river verdure reaches from Stourbridge chapel to the 
Quay Side. Continuing westwards from the end of Jesus Lane you will see a vestige 
of the green in All Saints' churchyard. The grass-plots in Trinity and St J ohn's may 
suggest a time when the sward was not encompassed by College buildings, and the yet 
fresh masonry of Trinity Library and the third court of St John's will hint that in a 
recent day the river flowed through empty pastures. If from Barnwell we turn south- 
wards there are green meadows and cornfields under the walls of Christ's and Emmanuel. 
In Loggan's Prospect of Cambridge from the East Side the shepherd is pasturing his 
flock on the balks of Clayhanger field, where Park Street stands, and smart students 
are riding out to hunt the hare. There are no houses in the Field, for the cultivators 
dwell in the town streets. 

And this tract of land was even more thinly peopled in 1278, when King Edward I 
sent his commissioners to make a census of the town. Consider the figures which 
Professor Maitland gives in his Township and Borough (p. 102) of the houses in the 
several parishes. The total is 534, of which number we may omit 95 which were in 
Barnwell, a suburb outside the King's Ditch, and 40 which were in parishes unspecified. 
Of the remaining 399 houses 114 were contained in the parishes beyond the Bridge 
and in St Clement's and St Sepulchre's, and 252 were in the parishes near the 
Market-place and bordering the High Street. The great area comprised in the four 
parishes of Ail Saints, St Radegund, Trinity and St Andrew, an area greater than 
either the southern or the northern house-nucleus, contained in all but 33 houses'. 

1 In 1901 the population of the northern parishes was 3912 : that of the southern parishes was 
3336 : that of the middle parishes was 3993. 

C. A. S. Quarto Series. No. I. 1 



2 



THE DUAL ORICJIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



And in all prubabilily most of these lew houses were recent encroachments on what 
had been common land at the end of the eleventh century. Since Doomsday the 
Benedictine nuns of St Radegund and the Franciscans had settled in open spaces which 
once, perhaps, had been field or pasture, and the Hospital of St John, as the burgesses 
complained to King Edward's commissioners, had occupied 'a very poor waste place of 
the community of the town.' Near each religious house, no doubt, small groups of 
dwellings grew up for the lodging of lay dependents. About the same time a few hithes 
rose with the growing trade of the town where Trinity and St John's now front the 
river. But the principal and richest inhabitants of the district were the Jews, who 
are said to have settled in Cambridge during the Conqueror's reign. Before the Conquest 
the whole area must have been almost bare of habitation ^ 

If we turn to the Cambridge Field Books we shall find further evidence of the 
early duality of the town and a suggestion as to its significance. And first let me 
briefly explain what was the medieval Field and what the Books tell us of the Fields 
of Cambridge. 

In the middle ages, and until the enclosure of the open fields at the beginning of 
the nineteenth century, Cambridge town was surrounded on all sides, except where it 
borders Chesterton, by the unhedged fields which were owned and tilled by the townsmen, 
the properties of the owners being divided from one another by grass balks. The fields 
on the eastern side of the town were commonly and collectively known as Barnwell Field, 
and were bounded on their outer circumference by the parishes of Ditton, Cherry Hinton 
and Trumpington. The western fields, often specifically called Cambridge Field, were 
bounded by Grantch ester, Coton, Madingley, Girton and Chesterton. Each of these two 
Fields seems to have been regarded as an agricultural unit. Each had its pieces of 
common pasture. Each was apparently cultivated on the usual three-field system. The 
three divisions of Barnwell Field were known as Bradmore Field, Middle Field and 
Ford Field, the last including the outlying Sturbridge Field. Those of the western or 
Cambridge Field were Grithow Field, Middle Field and Carme Field, with the last of 
which was reckoned Little Field". Books for each of the two Fields recorded the names 
of the several owners, the metes and bounds of the subsidiary Fields, the positions 
of the different furlongs and selions contained in them, and the church to which 
each property tithed ^ 

The medieval Field, using the word in its larger sense, as a whole containing 
subsidiary Fields, is the Field of a villa, or township. As no township was without its 
Field so none had more than one Field. In the duplicate Cambridge Field should we 

1 In Appendix, § 1, I suggest that the third and fourth wards of Doomsday represented the area 
of the four parishes in the green, together with Barnwell. These wards contained four-fifths of the 
waste of the borough. 

2 See the plan opposite p. 55 in Township and Borough. For the enclosure of the two Fields 
separate Acts of Parliament were obtained — for Cambridge Field in 1802, for Barnwell Field in 1807. 

Of these Field Books several manuscript copies are in existence. One of the Cambridge Field 
is in the University Library (Add. MS. 2601). I have used three copies of the Cambridge Field Book 
which are at Jesus College. One of these professes to be based on a survey made in 1477, but the 
evidence of the names of the owners of the selion strips shows that the original from which all three 
Books were derived was put together in the reign of Edward III. Of the Barnwell Field, so far as 
I know, our only information comes from a single Book, also at Jesus College. This is written in 
a hand of about the middle of the eighteenth century and is merely an abstract of a more detailed Book ; 
but it contains all the essential facts, and the original from which it was taken, like its fellow of the 
Cambridge Field, belonged to Edward Ill's time. 




Sketch Map of Cambridge in 1278. 

The area occupied by houses is shaded. 
. . . Boundary of the northern town. 

Southern boundary of the parishes in the Green. 

i = the Market Cross, 2 = St Giles' Church, 3 = the School of Pythagoras, 4= St Sepulchre's Church, 
5 = All Saints' Church, 6= Small Bridges. 

1—2 



4 



THE DUAL ORIGIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



nut recognise an original duplicate t(jwiisiiij) of Cambridge ? We must not suppose 
that in the ownership of the selion strips, at the time when the Field Books were put 
togetlier, there is any iiint of such an origin. In the fourteenth century the Field system 
was in ruins. The selion divisions were in countless instances obliterated: 'three selions 
which were formerly five,' and such-like, are common notes in the Field Books. The 
owner of a strip may live at the end of the town remotest from his holding. Many 
men have holdings in both Fields. Some holders are not resident in Cambridge at all. 
But there is one element in the Books which is fairly permanent and which looks as 
primitive as anything that we can expect to find in documents of the fourteenth century, 
and that is the ownership of the tithes of the selions. It may be that, as Professor 
Maitland said, tithes remained in a somewhat fluid condition for some time after the 
Norman conquest. Yet one principle is stable and underlies all the tithe arrangements 
— that the selions in the Cambridge Field tithed almost exclusively to the churches at 
the northern end of the town, while those in the Barnwell Field tithed almost exclu- 
sively to the churches that stood in the open land which I have described as bisecting 
the town, and to the churches of the southern town. In both Books we find St Rade- 
gund's Nunnery represented. Otherwise the only parish names which appear in both 
Books are St Sepulchre's, St Botolph's and Little St Mary's (anciently called St Peter's) 
which is represented in the Books by Peterhouse. 

St Sepulchre's is a small parish and its tithe holdings in either Field are few. It 
was originally a membrum, or cell, of Ramsey Abbey \ The parish was probably a 
' peculiar,' and the parishioners would be tenants of the Abbey in Cambridge. In the 
Cartulary of Ramsey Abbey" there is a list of these tenants. One is in St Peter's 
parish at the Castle ; the others are either in St Clement's or in the Jewry, and the 
Hundred Rolls show that one at least of the latter was in All Saints' parish. This is 
a possible explanation of the appearance of St Sepulchre's tithe in both Fields. The 
explanation is clearer in the case of St Botolph's and Little St Mary's. Alone of the 
southern parishes they extend across the river and, beyond it, include the hamlet of Newn- 
haml The name of Newnham conveys a suggestion of modernity, but the dative case of 
the adjectival prefix tells us that it had a Saxon origin. In the later middle ages the 
part of it next the Mill was called Eldenewenham to distinguish it from a more recent 
extension of the hamlet. There are reasons, which I shall hereafter state, for thinking 
that at least Eldenewenham was a very ancient adjunct of the southern town. But 
the later Newnham, or some of its adjacent crofts, seems in early times to have been 
included in one or other of the northern transpontine parishes. That such was the 
fact seems to be clearly indicated in an agreement, quoted in full in the Barnwell 
Liber Memorandoruvi^ between the vicar of St Botolph's and the Prior and Convent 
of Barnwell. The agreement, which bears date 1287, has reference to a close belonging 
to Reginald de Cumbertone and situated in campis de Neiuenham. The Prior claimed 
the tithes of this close for the church of All Saints at the Castle, which the Priory 
held in proprios usus. In the end the vicar and the Priory agreed to share the tithes. 
The crofters of Newnham, though in 1287 they found it convenient to transfer them- 

1 See charters 73 and 74 in Cartularium Monasterii de Rameseia, ed. Lyons, iu the Rolls Series 
vol. I. pp. 145, 146. 2 Vol. I. p. 496. 

3 The bounds of the parishes of All Saints, St Michael and St Edward extend over the present course 
of the river. Later in this Communication I suggest a reason for this singularity. 

* p. 219, ed. Clark. 



ARTHUR GRAY 



5 



selves from All Saints' next the Castle to the nearer church of St Botolph, could not 
transfer their tithe without some legal difficulty. 

Putting aside the three parishes which I have named we see that the only tithe- 
owners in the Cambridge Field were the parsons of the transpontine parishes, together 
with St Radegund : the only tithe-owners in the Barnwell Field were the cispontine 
parsons, again with St Radegund. Neither St Clement's nor All Saints' in the Jewry 
occurs in either Book. The reason must be that St Radegund occurs in the Cambridge 
Field in right of the appropriation to the Nunnery of the tithes of St Clement's church, 
and in the Barnwell Field in right of those of All Saints'^ In the matter of tithes 
St Clement's is associated with the transpontine parishes, just as we have seen that it 
belonged to the northern town and was separated by a wedge of uninhabited land from 
the southern town. Nothing can be clearer than the principle that the parsons of 
either quarter of Cambridge take tribute from the tillers of the Field to which that 
quarter is locally attached, not from strangers who till another Field. In respect of 
tithes each quarter is as independent of the other as each is e.g. of Trumpington, or 
as Trumpington is of Grantchester. May we not infer that once these quarters were 
indeed distinct townships, even as Trumpington is distinct from Grantchester ? 

In the ownership of the selions in the Fields we see a system in ruins, an ancient 
erection whose plan has been obliterated by the removal of party walls and whose 
foundations are buried in the dilapidations of centuries. In the allotment of the selion 
tithes to the several parishes we see an equal complexity but not the same antiquity. 
It is complex, for we know neither when nor how it was arranged that this or that 
selion should pay to this or that parish, nor why St Botolph should be neighboured in 
one furlong by St Mary and St Michael and in another by St Edward and St Andrew. 
But the multiplex distribution of parish tithe is not a thing of very remote antiquity. 
The tithe system has fitted itself into a far older Field system, and we have sound 
reasons for believing that the parish divisions of Cambridge were made in most cases 
after the Norman Conquest, in few or none much before it. On the other hand the 
bipartite division of the tithe from its very simplicity appears to point to a time much 
further removed from us ; to a time when the tithe divisors were not a dozen or more 
parishes taking random toll from scattered selions, but two clearly delimited townships. 
If we will we may call these townships parishes, for, as Bishop Stubbs has told us, 
' the parish is the ancient tun-scipe regarded ecclesiastically".' If we can fix approxi- 
mately the time when tithes became a legal charge on holdings in the Cambridge 
Fields we shall be justified in saying that at that time Cambridge consisted of two 
townships, which were in effect parishes. Again Bishop Stubbs says ' The recognition 
of the legal obligation of tithe dates from the eighth century in a.d. 787 it was 
made imperative by the legatine councils held in England, which, being confirmed by 
the kings and ealdormen, had the authority of witenagemotsl' In the eighth century 
then we may conclude that there were tvvo townships in Cambridge, each a civil unit 
possessed of its separate Field, and an ecclesiastical unit contributing to its particular 
church or priest. Whether these two townships existed in times earlier than the 
eighth century is a question which we shall have to discuss. 

1 In a printed report of an action, Anderson v. Broadbelt, which took place in 1816, with respect 
to the right of Jesus College to the Radegund tithe in Barnwell Field, it is stated that 'the Inhabitants 
of All Saints' parish in perambulating their boundaries had uniformly included the fields of Barnwell 
in consequence of their right to the Rates on those Tithes.' 

2 Const. History, vol. i. p. 227. ^ ibid. p. 228. 



6 



THK DUAL OUKilN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



Tnuiipin^rton iuid (Jnuitclicstcr are separate parishes and have separate Fields. 
But the parallel iu one respect is incomplete. Trumpington village stands a mile away 
from Grantchester and the river flows between. A strip of field, at its narrowest part 
scarcely so much as a quarter of a mile in breadth, parts the Cambridge townships, and 
we see no river between them. How shall we account for the singular juxtaposition 
of two communities so independent in their organisation ? If we would solve this 
problem we must focus our eyes, not to the eighteenth century, as I began by asking 
you to do, but to the eighth, and as a preliminary to our investigation we must 
reconstitute the Cambridge that then was, by blotting out nearly every feature of the 
town that is. 

Our enquiry first carries us from Cambridge town to the shire which has taken its 
name. By the treaty of Wedmore (878) Cambridgeshire passed into the Danelaw, and 
we may feel certain that its constitution into a shire was a result of the Danish occupa- 
tion. Cambridge town existed before Cambridge shire, which, like all the Danelaw 
shires, is a purely artificial aggregation of certain hundreds geographically centred 
about a town — not the homeland of a race, such as were Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. 
But, though to appearance artificially carved out after the pattern of Hertfordshire or 
Bedfordshire, in some respects Cambridgeshire is one of the most anomalous of English 
counties. The Isle of Ely claims a certain independence of it. It shares its county 
officer, the sheriff, with Huntingdonshire. When the see of Ely was erected, in the 
reign of Henry I, the province assigned to it was the county of Cambridge. But one 
portion of it was excepted — the deanery of Fordham, consisting of the parishes con- 
tained between the Devil's Dyke and the Suffolk border, and until 1836 this portion 
remained subject to the bishop of Norwich. These singularities have a common expla- 
nation which is contained in the answer to the question — Was Cambridgeshire in East 
Anglia ? 

I do not think that it is possible to give a direct answer to that question. But 
we may positively affirm that some part of Cambridgeshire was in East Anglia, though 
the extent of that part varied at different times. Baeda says that Ely was ' in pro- 
vincia Orientalium Anglorum^' Abbo of Fleury in his Passio Sancti Edmundi'^ written 
about the end of the tenth century, says of the boundaries of East Anglia: 

On the south and east it is surrounded by the Ocean ; on the north by 
vast fens and swamps ; on the west it is contiguous to the rest of the island, 
and therefore accessible ; but, to prevent frequent hostile incursions, it is 
fenced with a mound like a very high wall. 

That is to say, East Anglia was bounded by the Devil's Dyke, which is in Cam- 
bridgeshire. William of Malmesbury' bears similar evidence: 

The kings of the East Angles held sway in the shire {pagus) of Grantebrig : 
and there is a bishop there whose see is at Ely : they ruled also in Northfolk 
and Southfolk, &c. 

William is enumerating the pre-Danish kingdoms and the dioceses with which they 
corresponded, and we might assume that his meaning was that the whole of Cambridge- 

1 Ecd. Hist. IV. 19. 

2 Annals and Memorials of Saint Edmund's Abbey, ed. T. Arnold (Rolls Series), vol. i. pp. 5, 6. 

3 Gesta Regum Anglorum (Rolls Series), vol. i. p. 101. 



ARTHUR GRAY 



7 



shire was comprised in the domain of the East Anglian kings. But he is careful to 
guard against such an interpretation ; for at the end of his list he adds : 

These were the divisions of the kingdoms : but at different times different 
kings, as they grew stronger or weaker, either overstepped or lost these 
boundaries. 

All that we may conclude from his words is that certain kings of East Anglia 
once ruled in Cambridgeshire, but did not necessarily rule the whole of it, and that 
the bishop's see at Ely was contained in that part of their dominion. On the other 
hand the town of Cambridge in post-Danish but pre-Conquest times was not in East 
Anglia. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, antio 921, speaks of 'the Aere, i.e. the Danish 
army, among the East Angles... and the here which belonged to Grantanbrycge.' In 
the year 1010 the Chronicle tells us that, when the Danes landed at Ipswich, ' then 
the East Angles immediately fled, then stood Grantabric shire fastly against them,' 
and we need make no doubt that on that occasion Cambridge town shared the stead- 
fastness of the shire. Furthermore in the Liber Eliensis^ we are told of a meeting 
which was held at Freckenham in the days of King Edgar, and which was attended 
by ' omnes maiores natu Orientalis Angliae et de Grantebrucge.' 

Next let us take the odd feature of the common shrievalty of the shires of Cam- 
bridge and Huntingdon. The sheriff, vice-comes, was theoretically the deputy of the 
earl, comes, and the earls of Huntingdon and Cambridge in the twelfth century were 
the Scottish kings. They inherited their dignity from Waltheof, who was earl of 
Huntingdon and Northampton. He was not, in name at least, earl of Cambridge, and 
the fact that he was not indicates that the shires of Cambridge and Huntingdon were 
not in his day clearly delimited ; for his possessions in Cambridgeshire were broadcast, 
and some, probably all, of them belonged to the Honour of Huntingdon. In Doomsday, 
tempore Regis Edioardi, he appears as tenant in chief in twenty-one different vills of 
Cambridgeshire. 

It is significant that all these vills lay in the south-western parts of the shire. 
Besides the town of Cambridge the shire contains sixteen hundreds. The Honour of 
Huntingdon was confined to seven of them, viz. Chesterton, Armingford, North Stow, 
Papworth, Long Stow, Triplow and Wetherley. These hundreds are parted from the 
rest of the county by the old Ouse, or West River, and by the River Cam from its 
junction with the West River to the southern boundary of the Liberty of Cambridge, 
next to Trumpington. South of Cambridge the hundred bounds are not defined by 
any of the courses of the river". 

1 ed. Stewart, p. 129. 

2 In Appendix, § 2, I give a list of hundreds and vills containing Waltheof's manors in the days 
of the Confessor. He was not the only comes who owned manors then in Cambridgeshire. Aelfgar 
had properties in thirty vills, Harold in ten, Gyrth in four, Tosti in two. The three first named held 
the earldom of East Anglia at various times in the Confessor's reign : Tosti was earl of the Northumbrians. 
It should be noted that Harold married a daughter of Aelfgar, and that Gyrth and Tosti were Harold's 
brothers. As Aelfgar was also earl of Mercia it is not surprising that his possessions extended to all 
parts of southern Cambridgeshire. There is one matter touching the Honour of Huntingdon which 
is enigmatic. Hundred Rolls (ii. p. 356) inform us that earl David gave the Barnwell canons two acres 
before the gates of their original house, by St Giles' church : earl Malcolm gave the Eadegund nuns 
the site of their church, next Grenecroft. The waste of the borough belonged to the kings of England. 
Neither in Doomsday nor in later records is there evidence that the earls of Huntingdon had any estate 



8 



THE DUAL ORIGIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



The shires of Huntingdon and Northampton belonged to Mercia and to the 
Mercian diocese of Dorchester'. It is reasonable to suppose that this Honour of 
Huntingdon, within the bounds of Cambridgeshire, also belonged to Mercia ; for Cam- 
bridgeshire too, except the deanery of Fordham, before the bishopric of Ely was erected, 
was in the diocese of Lincoln, to which city the Mercian see was transferred from 
Dorchester in 1085. But the Ely monks always claimed to be independent of the 
bishop of Lincoln. One abbot, Symeon, was boycotted by them for accepting bene- 
diction from him. They asserted their right to make their monastic professions to any 
bishop they liked ; and they usually did so to the East Anglian bishop of Thetford 
or Elmham-. 

So far the evidence establishes the following conclusions : 

(1) At the time of the Conquest south-western Cambridgeshire was 
attached to the Mercian earldom of Huntingdon. 

(2) The Isle of Ely claimed an ancient independence of Mercia and 
attachment to East Anglia. 

(3) The Fordham deanery was in East Anglia. 

(4) In post-Danish but pre-Conquest times the town of Cambi'idge was 
considered to be outside East Anglia. 

To which kingdom, or, perhaps we should say, to which race did the south-eastern 
parts of the shire belong — the large segment which, speaking generally, may be said 
to lie eastward of the Cam from the point where it leaves Essex, at Great Chesterford, 
to Upware where it reaches the Fordham deanery ? I think that we may find in that 
quarter a very definite demarcation between the earliest settlements of the Mercians 
and those of the East Anglians. The East Anglians, as the Fordham deanery shows, 
must have entered Cambridgeshire from the heath-lands between Thetford and New- 
market. In their westward advance they must have followed the chalk ridge parting 
the fens from the woods that fringe the border next Suffolk and Essex. Along this 
ridge the first comers of their race have left the track of their advance indelibly 
marked in the names which they gave to their settlements. In the Fordham deanery 
we have a region in which the all-but universal ending of the village names is ham, 
and from which the ending ton is altogether excluded. These hams seem to be pro- 
jected from the side of Norfolk and Suffolk, where the suffix is common, though 
intermixed with ton, especially where the open country died into the forest. I do not 
think that the difference in termination conveys any difference in meaning. Whatever 
their origin and derivation, in effect both ham and ton mean no more than ' dwelling,' 
and whether a man called his dwelling ham or ton was purely a matter of fancy or 
fashion. The predilection for the ham suffix was carried with them by the East 
Anglians both into their colony about Ely and the western extension of the downs 
towards Cambridge. Ely is ringed about with hams. An interesting example is Had- 
denham, whence Ovini's stone, now in Ely cathedral, was brought. Ovini was Etheldreda's 

in Cambridge borough. When Pain Peverel removed the canons to Barnwell the site which he gave 
them was acquired by concession of the king. I can only suppose that the earls got like sanction for 
their alms-gifts. Grenecroft was in the part of the borough which I regard as East Anglian. 

1 William of Malmesbury, Gesta, i. p. 101. 

2 Liber Eliensis, pp. 184, 254. For the early relationship of the Isle of Ely to Cambridgeshire and 
East Anglia, see Appendix, § 3. 



ARTHUR GRAY 



9 



primus ministrorum, or ' over-alderman,' as the title is translated into Anglo-Saxon, and 
Baeda tells us that he was an East Anglian^. In a westerly direction from Ely the 
hams extend over the Ouse to Somersham and Bluntisham, in Huntingdonshire, and 
to Cottenham and Willingham, in Cambridgeshire. 

Westward of the Devil's Dyke the hams are continued along the routes of Icknield 
Street and the road from Newmarket to Cambridge. On the one line they pass the 
Fleam Dyke and end at Babraham ; on the other they seem to die out at Teversham, 
the bounds of which are less than a mile away from the edge of Barnwell Field, next 
Stourbridge Chapel. It is even possible that we may track East Anglian settlements 
into the Liberty of Cambridge and find them at Coldham and at Newnham-. 

Beyond Cambridge, south and west, is a land in which tons are predominant. 
There can be no doubt as to the quarter whence these tons are projected. Though a 
few of them creep up between the hams and the Essex border they do not come from 
the adjacent pai-ts of Essex, nor from Hertfordshire. In neither of these counties are 
either hams or tons characteristic. They come from Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, 
Northamptonshire — from Mercia in fact — a region where tons are ubiquitous^. 

I think that the evidence of place-names alone is sufficient to establish the con- 
clusion that Cambridgeshire was settled by two races, and that it was the East Anglian 
race which occupied the region of the hams. But I do not base my case on that alone. 
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle tells us that in the year 905 the Danish army in East 
Anglia — which then, of course, was part of the Danelaw — violated the peace and harried 
all the Mercian land. ' Wherefore king Edward went after them as speedily as he could, 
and harried all their lands between the dykes and the Ouse, all as far north as the 
fens^' The area comprised between the Devil's Dyke and the Fleam Dyke, as well 
as that which extends northwards from the dykes to the Ouse in the neighbourhood 
of Stretham, is almost entirely occupied by vills with the ham suffix. It may there- 
fore be taken for certain that this region, even so late as the tenth century, was 
regarded as part of East Anglia. 

Without insisting too precisely that every Cambridgeshire ham was East Anglian 
and every ton Mercian, the tendency of the evidence of the village names goes decisively 
to show that the impact of the nationalities was at Cambridge. It could not have 
been otherwise. Cambridge stood at the head of the navigable river and commanded 
the ford where the three ancient roads from East Anglia, Essex and London converged 
at the passage of the Cam. If the walls of Grantacaestir which survived to Baeda's 
time were Roman walls, the advantages of such a ready-made burh could not be over- 
looked by either people. As the East Anglians appear to have penetrated Cambridge- 
shire as far as to Teversham, perhaps they settled in the southern part of the site of the 
town, while the Mercians occupied the other extremity of it. But the fact that six 
villages with the ton suffix immediately environ Cambridge suggests that the earliest 
settlers were Mercian, and that they occupied both sides of the river. Between them 

1 Hist. EccL IV. 3. 

2 Coldham Common is nowadays sometimes called Coldham's Common ; but the name is Coldham 
in the lAber Memorandorurn, p. 323. 

3 See Appendix, § 4, for the distribution of hams and tons around Cambridge. 

* Florence of Worcester speaks of the wasted land as ' terras quae inter terrae limitem sancti regis 
Eadmundi et flumen Usam sitae sunt.' Matthew of Paris says it was ' inter duo fossata sancti Edmundi,' 
i.e. between the Fleam Dyke and the Devil's Dyke ; probably he is right about the locality, but I know 
not whether there is warrant for connecting the Fleam Dyke with the Liberty of St Edmund. 
C. A. S. Quarto Series. No. I. 2 



10 



THE DUAL ORIGIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



and their East Augli;in iu;i<;hbour.s there were doubtless border frays, but organised 
warfare oidy began when East Ar)glia and Mercia were consolidated into kingdoms. 
Racdwald, the first king of East Anglia who is more than a name to us, began his 
reign at some time before 617, in which year he defeated and slew Aethelfrith, king 
of Northumbria. Penda, the first historical king of Mercia, according to the Chronicle 
became king about the year 626. Under Raedwald East Anglia became the most 
powerful of the English kingdoms; after Aethelberht of Kent (d. 016) we are told by 
Baeda that he lield the position of Bretwalda. He was apparently dead in 632, when 
his successor, king Eorpwald, was baptised. A few years later the East Anglian border- 
land was savagely raided by Penda of Mercia. He slew two East Anglian kings, Sigeberht 
and Egeric, in 637, and a third, Anna, the father of Etheldreda, in 654. The Liher 
Eliensis says that ' he turned Ely into a solitude ' and ' panted for the slaughter of 
East Anglians^' But the Mercian power fell as suddenly as it rose, when Penda was 
defeated and slain at Winwaed in 655. Supremacy passed to Northumbria, and under 
its protection East Anglia enjoyed a breathing-space, during which, in 673, Etheldreda 
reoccupied the desolated site of Ely. 

Not long afterwards, in the year 695, we get the first historical glimpse of the 
site of Cambridge in Baeda's familiar' story of the discovery of the coffin-stone of 
Etheldreda at the desolate little city of Grantacaestir. The story invites some comments. 
Let me say that it is absolutely certain that Grantacaestir was Cambridge ; and that 
for two reasons. First, the ancient name of the village was never Grantchester, but 
Grantsete, i.e. the settlers by the Granta, the second element in the name being the 
same as in Dorset. Among scores of slightly differing spellings of the name I do not 
remember to have seen one of a date prior to 1300 which in the second element 
remotely resembles -Chester, or the medieval -cestre, which, with modifications, is the 
constant form in Chesterford and Chestertonl And, secondly, the Liher Eliensis (p. 64), 
retelling Baeda's story, states that the stone was found in a place ' qui usque hodie 
Aermeswerch dicitur,' and from the Barnwell Liher Memorandorum (p. 168) we learn 
that Aermeswerch was on the northern bank of the river, beneath the Castle. Next, 
let me say that there is not the smallest ground for the supposition, countenanced by 
J. R. Green in his Making of England, that this little city had lain waste for nearly 
250 years, since the first English invaders sacked the Roman town. It is inconceivable 
that a site so important as Cambridge should have remained untenanted at a time 
when, as the village-names show, the whole of southern Cambridgeshire was thickly 
studded with English dwellings. Baeda is writing about an event which happened in 
his own day, for he was twenty-three in 695. The tie between East Anglia and his 
own Northumbria was then strong, and he shows an intimate acquaintance with East 
Anglian matters. He must have known well that Grantacaestir had been desolated in 
the recent border warfare of East Anglia and Mercia — perhaps in one of Penda's raids, 
more probably by East Anglians at a later time. Whichever was the fact, the infer- 
ence seems inevitable that once this little city was held by the East Anglians, though, 
as the scene of the discovery of the coffin-stone was outside the Castle vallum, it 
by no means follows that the Castle itself was desolated, nor is there anything 

1 Libe?- Eliensis, pp. 5, 23. 

2 In Pedes Finium for Cambs., ed. Rye, there are thirty-seven speUiugs unequivocally of the Grantsete 
type : in one late instance (of Henry V's reign) the anabiguous form Granteceste occurs : between the 
reigns of Richard I and Richard III the complete -cester, or -cest7-e, suffix does not occur once. 



ARTHUR GRAY 



11 



in Baeda's tale to compel the belief that the southern side of the river was 
uninhabited. 

In the century of comparative peace which followed it is likely that there was 
some demarcation of bounds. In the complete absence of documentary evidence every- 
thing is conjectural, but there is good ground for believing that at some time in the 
eighth century a partition was arranged between the kingdoms which fixed their 
boundaries at the West River and the Cam, in its navigable part at and below Cam- 
bridge. Only I must premise, as I hope hereafter to prove, that the Cam at Cambridge 
did not then flow in its present channel. Above the town the line was fixed so as to 
include in East Anglia all the hams together with a few tons which border the 
Shelford branch of the river ^ To either people fell a region which, at a later period 
when the county was divided into sixteen hundreds, was represented by eight of those 
hundreds. Cambridge, the kernel of the county, was environed by the five hundreds 
of Fiendish, Triplow, Wetherley, North Stow and Chesterton. Fiendish was an East 
Anglian hundred, the others Mercian-. 

What is the evidence for such a partition of southern Cambridgeshire between the 
two kingdoms ? I have shown that the Mercian earldom of Huntingdon was confined 
to certain hundreds in the south-western parts of the county. Its limitation to those 
parts points to a time before the Danish occupation : for the whole county was included 
in the Danelaw, and after its reconquest by Edward the Elder the county boundary was 
placed at the Devil's Dyke. The earldom was therefore older than the shire. From 
that great storehouse of information on the subject of early Cambridge, the Liber 
Memorandorum, I derive an interesting fact which in a singular way corroborates the 
evidence of Doomsday as to the limits of the earldom. The Liber Memorandorum tells 
us more. If we question it a little closely it tells us that there was a time when 
the Castle and the Great Bridge at Cambridge were exclusively in the hands of the 
Mercians^. 

1 At a later time the East Anglian boundary receded to the Devil's Dyke. Probably this happened 
about the year 921, when king Edward recovered Cambridgeshire from the East Anglian Danes. The 
boundary may possibly have been fixed there about the year 792, when OfFa, king of Mercia, invaded 
East Anglia (Malmesbury, Gesta Regum, i. p. 84). But OfFa's invasion led to no permanent occupation 
of East Anglia. Had it been so the earldom of Huntingdon would have extended to the Devil's Dyke. 
Moreover, we have seen that in 905 the territory between the dykes was occupied by the Danes of 
East Anglia. After Ofl'a's death Beornwulf of Mercia again invaded East Anglia 'ut debitum Merciis 
regnum a tempore Ofifae ' ; but the East Anglians in 823 sought the protection of Egbert of Wessex and, 
aided by him, slew Beornwulf. Two years later they slew his successor, Ludecan, and the later kings 
of Mercia became tributary to Wessex (Malmesbury, op. cit. i. p. 95). 

2 The town itself was not a hundred, though it reckoned ' pro hundreto.' The Liber Eliensis records 
several instances of coetus (which perhaps we should translate ' shire-moots ') held at Cambridge in king 
Edgar's reign. One of them is described as 'grande placitum civium et hundretanorum,' from which 
we may infer that the cives were not hundretani. It seems probable that hundreds, like shires, only 
came into existence in the tenth century. Mr Chadwick, who has been helpful to me in many matters 
on which he is entitled to speak with authority, says in bis Studies on Anglo-Saxon Instihitions, 2^. 240, 
' There seems to be no evidence for the existence of the hundred system before the reign of Edmund ' 
(940-946). We may take it as something more than probable that Cambridge from the first was left 
entirely outside their organisation, though it paid geld to the king as any hundred of the shire. 

3 In vol. XI. pp. 324 — 346, of the Society's Communications, Mr St John Hope has convincingly shown 
that the Castle proper was entirely the creation of the Normans ; but he says that there can be little 
doubt that it stood within a Koman work. I might add that there is equally little doubt that there 
was some kind of fortress there — whether we call it hurh or not — in Saxon times. When I speak of the 
Castle, without describing it as Norman, it must be understood that I speak of the larger stronghold, 

2—2 



12 



THE DUAL OIUCIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



The Castle and the Bridge were the two features of primitive Cambridge from 
which it drew its military importance, and to them it owed the names by which it 
was successively known, Grantacaestir and Grantabrycge. The earlier name, Granta- 
caestir, implies, what is otherwise fairly certain, that there was no bridge in 695. And 
there was no bridge in the time of Felix of Crowland, whose floruit is 715-730. For 
in his Life of St Guthlac^ speaking of the Great Fen, he says: 

In the central parts of Britain there is a fen of vast extent, which begins 
at the banks of the rivei' Grante, not far from the castellum called Granta. 

As the name Grantabrycge occurs first in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the year 
875 the Bridge may have been built at any time in the last three-quarters of the 
eighth or the first three-quarters of the ninth century. We can hardly believe that it 
was built at a time when hostile tribes occupied the banks at either end of it. 

In Saxon times three duties, the trinoda necessitas, were imposed on the thane, or 
landed proprietor. They were the duties (1) of service in the fyrd, or national army, 
(2) of garrison service, hurh-hot, and (3) of building and repairing bridges, hrycg-geweorc. 
Either as personal services, or as payments in commutation for them, these duties long 
survived the Conquest-. For the Castle and the Bridge the town of Cambridge was 
not responsible. They were, both of them, in the custody of the sheriff, and for their 
maintenance and repair he collected duties from particular estates in the county. The 
hurh-hot, after the Conquest, came to be known as ' ward-pennies,' in Latin warda 
castri ^ ; and the hrycg-geweorc was called pontagium, or ' pontage.' In the Liher Memo- 
randorum (pp. 238 — 263) there is a list of all feoda, or public duties, charged on lands 
in the county of Cambridge. Among them, besides the three ' needs,' are included 
suit at the county court, sheriff's aid and the hide geldage. The other feoda are 
charged indiscriminately in all parts of the county ; but the levy of ward-pennies and 
pontage is limited to eight hundreds in the southern and western portions of the 
county, viz. the seven already mentioned as comprising the Mercian Honour of Hun- 
tingdon, and the adjoining hundred of Whittlesford. Not a single estate in the eight 
remaining hundreds was charged with either pontage or castle ward for Cambridge. 
Pontage was not paid at all by the vills of south-eastern Cambridgeshire, for there 
were no bridges to maintain there^ It was paid out of certain properties in the Isle 
of Ely, but exclusively for Ely Bridge and Aldreth Bridge, which were maintained by 
the Abbot or Bishop'. Ward-pence the East Anglians of Cambridgeshire did pay, but 
not to Cambridge Castle. For his possessions in the Isle of Ely the Abbot paid — as 
which was probably coextensive with the enclosure which, whether Roman or not, it is convenient to call 
the castrum. Whatever it was, there was a castellum at Cambridge in the eighth century, as is shown 
by Felix of Crowland. 

1 Memorials of St Guthlac, ed. Birch, p. 17. 

2 'The trinoda necessitas first appears in genuine Anglo-Saxon charters about the beginning of the 
eighth century. It occurs however earlier in disputed ones.' Stubbs, Constitutional History, vol. i 
p. 76, note. 

3 See Appendix, § 2, Warda castri and Ward-pennies. 

* In the thirteenth century Whittlesford Bridge was maintained by the burgesses of Cambridge, 
who took tolls for its repair. Hundred Rolls, ii. p. 571. 

6 Probably there was no bridge at Aldreth until the Conqueror made one for his assault on the Island. 
'Rex... ad Alrehethe, ubi aquae insulae minus latae sunt, per pontem quern pridem paraverat suum 
iterum adplicuit exercitum' {Liber Eliensis, p. 229). Ely Bridge, which was a wooden draw-bridge (Stewart's 
Ely Cathedral, pp. 178 and 181), may have existed earlier : compare the Conqueror's charter in Liher 
Eliensis, p. 256, ' Denique praeeipite ut illi homines faciant pontem de Heli qui meo praescripto et 
dispositione hucusque ilium soliti sunt facere.' 



ARTHUR GRAY 



13 



we might expect — to Norwich Castle'. The Liber Memorandorum does not mention a 
single property in the south-eastern hundreds which owed castle ward at all. The 
Hundred Rolls mention several which did so, but not one which owed it to Cambridge. 
In almost every case the ward was due to baronial castles, such as Richmond or 
Rockingham, and in the instances in which the place of ward is unspecified it is 
tolerably obvious that the place was not Cambridge. As if to emphasize this distinc- 
tion between the south-western and the south-eastern hundreds the Liber Memorandorum 
places the former together at the beginning of its list, and the latter together at the 
end of it-. 

If the Mercians, as the keepers of the Castle and Bridge, were masters of the 
military position, the more civilised East Anglians held the trading centres. The market, 
the mills, the three Cambridge fairs all belonged to the southern tovvn^ These were 
institutions which, we may guess, had their beginnings in an age long before the 
Conquest. Yet it is hard to conceive that the northern acropolis was wholly without 
such commercial adjuncts. A mill, or mills, it certainly had if any conclusion for 
primitive ages may be based on the name of Milne Lane, in St Peter's parish, which 
I find in a deed of Henry VI's time^. As the lane was next the river the mill was 
evidently a water-mill. For the former existence of a market in the northern town 
there is a curious piece of evidence in the Historia Cantebrigiensis Academiae of 
Dr Caius (p. 9). I do not think that it has been remarked before, and for calling 
my attention to it I have to thank my friend, Mr J. W. Clark. Dr Caius says : 

Close to the Castle is a market cross, constructed of solid stone, on the 
northern side of the Castle. It is called the market cross from the circum- 
stance that there is a constant tradition that about it the market of the old 
town was formerly held. 
From the Liber Memorandorum and notes in the Field Books, which date from 
the sixteenth century, we know exactly where this cross stood ^ It is called in the 
Field Books ' y^ hie crosse at y® Castle End,' and it was close to a stone called Ashwyke 
stone, a recognised mere-stone standing on the western side of Castle street and just 
at its junction with Pleasant Row, anciently called Hare Hill or Hore Hill. By ' the 
old town' Dr Caius meant, as the context shows, the northern town, and he regarded 

1 See the precept of the Conqueror in Liher Eliensis, p. 260, ' Munitiooem suam habeat in Norwic, 
et homines sui sint ibi cum opus fuerit.' Richard I allowed the Bishop to do ward in Ely instead 
of at Norwich : see his charter in the Ramsey Cartulary, i. pp. 115, 116. 

2 Perhaps another indication of this partition of southern Cambridgeshire — a partition in this case 
racial rather than political — is to be found in the limitation of the cottar class of the villain population 
to seven of the eight Mercian hundreds. I reserve the matter, as disputable, to Appendix, § 5, Bordars 
and Cottars. 

3 The three fairs alluded to were Sturbridge Fair, Midsummer Fair and Garlic Fair ; but at the 
date of Hundred Rolls the tolls of each of them were appropriated to religious bodies. The only fair 
which belonged to the townsmen was that which was held in Rogation week, and for which they held 
a charter from king John. This fair was held in the town of Cambridge, as Hundred Rolls (ll. p. 391) 
inform us and was altogether distinct from Reach Fair held in the same week. Reach Fair did not belong 
to the townsmen : two parts of it belonged to the King and one to the Prior of Ely {Hundred Rolls, ii. 
p. 484). When the Rogation Fair at Cambridge ceased to exist, where it was held, and when and how the 
townsmen acquired the Reach Fair — these are questions to which I can only give the answer so often 
given by the hundred jurors to king Edward's interrogatories, 'nichil scimus.' 

* See charter 259 in my Priory of St Radegund, Antiq. Soc. Publications, 1898. 
5 See the passages from the Field Books cited in my Communication, On the Watercourse called 
Cambridge, Antiq. Soc. Communications, vol. ix. pp. 64, 65. 



14 



THE DUAL ORItJIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



the existence of market iuul cross as evidence that the northern townsmen bought and 
sold among themselves and not in the southern town. If this 'constant tradition' has 
any basis of fact the northern market must have passed out of existence at a very 
early date. Hundred Rolls and contemporary deeds furnish ample evidence of the 
importance of the southern market in the thirteenth century but give no hint of one 
at the Castle End. We must therefore assume either that the market originally existed 
at the Castle End and was afterwards transferred to the southern town, or that the 
two markets existed in the earliest times coevally. The former supposition is improbable. 
It would be odd if the traders of the southern town had no other mart than the incon- 
veniently distant one at the extreme verge of the Castle End. If on the other hand 
the two markets existed contemporaneously the phenomenon of a double market is 
only intelligible on the hypothesis of two separate trading communities. The tradition 
is faint, and the inferences to be drawn about this phantasmal market are problematic. 
But I gratify myself with a picture of Mercian merchandizers clustered round Ashwyke 
stone, there secure from the peril to life and goods in which a visit to the over-river 
market would have involved them. 

And why at the circumference of their town and on the crown of a steep hill 
should the Mercians fix their market, which might have been held so much more 
conveniently in the quarter of the Bridge ? Perhaps the explanation lies in a matter 
of temporary exigence. Scored with trenches in every part, the rectilinear diversions 
of natural watercourses, the region at either end of the Bridge reveals itself as a battle- 
ground on which through long ages contending nations drew parallels, offensive and 
defensive, which, having served their purpose, passed into desuetude and oblivion. Most 
remarkable and, at first sight, most inexplicable is that watercourse in the northern 
town which in medieval times went by the curious name ' Cambrigge.' On the subject 
of this watercourse I read a Communication to this Society some years ago\ and I 
will recapitulate what I then showed, on documentary evidence, to have been the lines 
which it followed. Beginning from the stream which we now call the Bin Brook, at 
the back of St John's College, and parting from it at something like a right angle it 
made in the direction of the School of Pythagoras. About forty feet short of that 
building it made another rectangular turn and ran parallel with its south-eastern wall. 
Continuing in a straight line it passed at Magdalene Street under a bridge, which was 
called Cambridge Bridge, and is mai'ked in Lyne's plan of 1574 as an iron grating, 
crates ferrea, in the middle of the street. Near the western end of the high bank in 
Magdalene garden it once more turned at right angles and passing between the Entrance 
Court of Magdalene College and the Pepysian Library discharged itself into the river-. 

1 Communications, vol. ix. p. 61. 

2 Mr J. W. Clark has pointed out to me a passage in Dr Caius' Historia Cantehrigiemis Academiae, 
p. 9, which amply confirms the view taken in my Communication that the watercourse called Cambridge 
was a branch of the river Cam. ' The city (i.e. the northern town) was originally washed by the river 
called Canta, or Granta, which flowed at the foot of the Castle Hill, and was then much nearer to 
the river than it is now. This we may learn from the fact that the channel of the old Canta is still 
visible in the vestiges of a running stream, and is called " old Cantebrig." ' As further evidence Dr Caius 
cites the passage in Henry of Huntingdon referred to in my Communication (p. 72). I may add a short 
note from Hundred Rolls (vol. i. p. 55). One of the complaints of the townsmen in 1278 was that 
a servant of the house of the clerks of Merton (i.e. of the house called the School of Pythagoras) had 
appropriated to his masters a certain fossatum belonging to the commonalty of the town, so that no one 
could fish in it, as had once been the custom ; whereby the whole town was damnified. No doubt the 
fossatum was the Cambridge watercourse. 



ARTHUR GRAY 



15 



The rectangular space enclosed between the river and the watercourse was known in 
the twelfth century as Aermeswerch. The name is Saxon, and, whatever the first 
element in it may mean, the second is weorc, a fo^'tress or strongholds Now what 
purpose did this Saxon ' work ' serve ? Its name and its lines preclude any associa- 
tion with the Norman Castle. Nor could it have supplemented the defence of the 
banked enclosure which we may call the castrum. It does not turn round the angles 
of the castrum : at one end it is longer, at the other it is shorter than the southern 
bank of the vallum. Then there is the singular circumstance which I pointed out in 
my Communication that it was covered on its outer northern and eastern sides by a 
bank, on the north near Northampton Street, on the east near the Master's Lodge in 
Magdalene garden. Beyond this eastern bank is another which extends from the south- 
eastern angle of the vallum to the river and marks the boundary of Chesterton parish. 
Beyond question Cambridge watercourse was a defence of the Bridge quarter from 
enemies whose attack was to be expected from the side of the Castle and from Ches- 
terton. And these enemies too were suspicious of attack from the side of the watercourse, 
for they raised banks on their side of it to increase the difficulty of transit. Let us 
go back to Baeda's desolate little city of Aermeswerch, by the river side, and let me 
remind you that that desolation was the result of warfare in times not far from Baeda's 
own, and that, whether we regard the desolators as East Anglian or Mercian, the same 
conclusion is arrived at, viz. that the Bridge quarter on the northern bank was once 
in East Anglian hands. We may guess that this was so in the Bretwaldaship of 
Raedwald : probably it remained so at the time of the visit of the Ely brethren. The 
immediate dominion of the East Anglian kings would then be limited by the Cam, of 
which this Cambridge watercourse was veritably a navigable branch. As for the Mercian 
' ton ' within the castrum may we not guess that at such a time, when it stood divorced 
from Baeda's civitatula, men called it Chesterton ? How does it happen that at this 
day the Castle is not in Cambridge but in the parish of Chesterton ? Why was Cam- 
bridge Castle with its appurtenances, like Chesterton vill but unlike Cambridge town, 
a royal manor ? Why is Chesterton parish the only parish, and Chesterton hundred 
the only hundred, which reaches to the house area of Cambridge without an intervening 
expanse of Cambridge Field ? I venture a hypothesis that will answer all these ques- 
tions. It is because Chesterton was the town in the castrum, not the village in the 
fields that we know ; because the town in the castrum was not in Cambridge ; because 
from Cambridge it was parted by no expanse of undefended field but by its stockaded 
mounds and by that ancient river, the river Canta, whose vestiges were visible to 
Dr Caius in the sixteenth century, and which the fifteenth century townsmen called 
Cambrigge. There was a time when it was the folk of Chesterton that garrisoned the 
Castle ; when the town south of the watercourse was wholly in possession of people of 
another stock ; when the Castle was the cliff-buttress on which the waves of East 
Anglian attack broke fruitlessly. Within the Castle precinct the Mercian garrison and 
the country-folk from the Mercian hinterland could gather for peaceful traffic. Beyond 
the ditch was desolation and the desolator. 

Of course I am aware that Chesterton now claims only the site of the Norman 
Castle. Cambridge has grown at the expense of Chesterton, and the Liber Meinoran- 
dorum (pp. 167 — 169) tells us that the county did not acquiesce in the usurpation of 

1 The Liber Eliensis (p. 64) translates the name by opus miseri, the poor man's work, from A.S. 
earm or aerm, poor. The first element looks like the genitive of a proper name. 



IG 



THK DUAL ORIGIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



tlic townspeople witliout fight. King Edward I 'had begun Cambridge Castle' in a 
year which the Barnwell chronicle does not state but which Mr Clark tells us was 
1283, and first he had to determine what precisely was included in the Castle precinct — 
whether the whole castrum or only the Norman mound and bailey. Five years before 
this, when the Hundred Rolls survey was made, the first question addressed to the 
jurors who represented the burgesses of Cambridge was — What demesne manors does 
our lord the King hold in the counties of Cambridge and Huntingdon ? And they 
made reply on oath that the King holds in his hand the castrum of Cambridge with 
its comitatus, as his predecessors held it, and has given it over to the sheriff that now 
is. They did not say, and they were not asked to say, what was the extent of the 
castrum; but as the wider area was then occupied by many townsmen's houses it is 
likely that they meant the site of the Norman castle only. Nor was it for them to 
say that the Castle was in Cambridge. Had that question been put to them I do not 
think that they could have affirmed that the Castle was in any ward or parish of the 
town. They would even have been anxious to make it clear that it was not in the 
town, and that the town was not answerable for its maintenance. Besides, within the 
castrum the sheriff held his county court, and to be free from the exactions of the 
sheriff's court the townsmen paid yearly farm to the King in blanch and by tale. Then 
the Castle had a comitatus consisting of sundry plots of ground belonging to the fief 
of the vice-comes. They might belong to that comitatus, or county, in which the sheriff 
held fiefs ; but in the borough the sheriff neither held nor could hold any fief. If the 
castrum and its comitatus were in the shire, and not in the borough, in what parish 
and hundred should they be but in Chesterton ? The same question as to royal manors 
was put to the jurors of Chesterton hundred and they replied in much more definite 
terms than it was possible for the Cambridge men to use. They said that the King 
held no manor in the vill of Chesterton, but that his predecessor king John had held 
the vill in his hand and had let it at farm to the Canons of Barnwell. It was perhaps 
the contention of the King's advisers that the castrum was a relic of the royal manor 
of Chesterton, omitted or reserved when the rest of it was let at farm. The theory 
would be plausible ; it may have had countenance in tradition and a foundation of fact. 
Except the Castle and its fee there never was a royal demesne in Cambridge ; except 
the contiguous vill of Chesterton there never had been a royal demesne in any of the 
townships which environ Cambridge. 

The King ordered that a perambulation should be made of the Castle bounds, 
and, as the perambulators whom he selected were not burgesses but ' free lieges of 
the county,' it appears that he assumed that the castrum, whether the greater or the 
smaller one, was not in Cambridge. But the county lieges were by no means content 
with even the larger interpretation of the King's wishes. They claimed for him not 
only the whole of the larger castrum but the whole of the Aermeswerch quarter which 
lay between it and the river. As regards the latter they were, no doubt, in error, as 
was immediately pointed out by the Prior of Barnwell, the Nuns of St Radegund and 
other owners of property in that neighbourhood. But they must have had reasons for 
bringing the county so far into the borough, and I suggest that the tradition yet lived 
among them of a time when the king who held the castrum in his hand was not the 
king who held Cambridge town\ 

1 The Liher Memorandorum does not tell us what was the issue of king Edward's claim. Of course 
the Castle is now in Chesterton parish, but, oddly enough, the Castle fee, which apparently consisted 



ARTHUR GRAY 



ir 



The name Chesterton can scarcely be connected with any other chester than that 
at Grantacaestir ; for we may disregard the insignificant Arbury, a British work which 
can hardly have been dignified with the title of chester. As the venerable name of 
Grantacaestir was in a later age transferred to the little village of the settlers by the 
Granta, so it is to be supposed that that of Chesterton became attached to the town 
■which lay half a mile away from the chester. This happened before the Conquest ; it 
must have been when the northern and southern towns were merged in one by the 
fusion of East Anglians and Mercians under the common rule of the Danes or the 
Wessex kings. 

Professor Maitland says, 'If ever there were two tuns... we are compelled to ask 
ourselves what was the name of the southern or eastern tun^' I am not sure that 
we are compelled to find an answer to that question if my theory be adopted that 
the town was originally wholly Mercian, afterwards for a space — the Castle only excepted 
— wholly East Anglian, and was only parted between the two peoples after it had been 
occupied for 200 years by men of English blood. But if the double town had indeed 
two names, that was so in times which we may fairly call prehistoric. The name of 
Grantebrycge emerges and the history of the town begins in 875. A vast deal of 
water had passed by the chester and under the bridge since the days of Raedwald and 
Penda. That one or other name should have been disused and forgotten since East 
Anglian and Mercian kings ruled in a divided Cambridge is only what might be expected. 
Yet I am disposed to think that the town on the northern bank, or at least one quarter 
in it, had a distinctive name of its own when the Conqueror built his Castle, and that 
that name was Cantebrig. I think that the name was older than the Conquest, though 
how much older it may have been I will not guess. But I will say that it is nothing 
to the point that Cantebrig, as the name of the united town, cannot be traced to Saxon 
times. Hundred Rolls and writings of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries have many 
Cambridge locality names of the purest Saxon type-. None of them can be traced 
to Saxon times : some of them occur only once or twice ; and nearly all of them passed 
out of use before the middle ages were over. But the discussion of the name Cantebrig 
requires an appendix to itself I 

It is useless to speculate whether Cambridge in the centuries which preceded S75 
had one name or two, and our lack of knowledge need not prevent us from reaching 
a probable conclusion from such knowledge as is within our reach. The conclusion 
which I have arrived at is that before the apparition of the Danes, and probably for 
a century and a half before it, the site of Cambridge was jaarted between the Mercians 
and the East Anglians. But though, in the survival into post-Conquest times of usages 
which took root in the eighth and ninth centuries, we see evidence of a long occupa- 

of the land called Sale, between the Castle and the corner of Victoria Eoad is, and long has been, included 
iu the borough. It was acquired by the clerks of Merton and in the fourteenth century was reckoned 
a part of Cambridge Field. 

1 Township and Borough, p. 182. 

2 Dagenhale, Estenhale, Eldestede, Stocton, the Holm or Hulmus are district names in Hundred Rolls 
and early deeds. Henneye and Hennably survived until the later middle ages. The fields are full of 
names of Saxon pattern. Eemarkable among nTra^ Xeyo/iera in Cambridge is Maideneburge, where, the 
Liber EliensU (p. 137) tells us, a great moot was held in the last quarter of the tenth century. Was 
it the Castle mound? We naturally think of Maiden Castle in Dorset, as well as of the name 'borougli ' 
formerly given to transpontine Cambridge. 

3 See Appendix, § 6, Grantebrycge and Cantebrig. 

C. A. S. Quarto Series. No. I. 3 



18 



THE DUAL OKKJIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



tion of tlicir respective areas, it is not to be supposed that tlie two cominuuities lived 
in unbi'okeu peace and mutual trust. The constant alliance of East Anglia with 
Northumbria or Wessex points to quite other relations. It may seem strange that 
these rival peoples should have lived in such remarkable juxtaposition if they were 
divided from one another by no more than a strip of open field, which belonged to 
the East Anglians but lay etjually open to their Mercian neighbours. But if we 
understand that these rivals were, what ' rivals ' should mean, ' dwellers on the opposite 
banks of a river,' the seeming strangeness will disappear. And I am now going to 
offer you reasons for the belief that is in me that a thousand years ago, or more, 
these communities were parted by the river Cam, or by considerable branches of it. 

You will see obvious objections to such a hypothesis. The parishes of St Clement 
and St Sepulchre, the areas of which I have constantly assigned to the northern town, 
are on the southern bank of the river. The southern parishes of St Botolph, St 
Edward, St Michael and All Saints extend across the river at the Backs and include 
the river-side grounds of Queens', King's, Clare, Trinity and the larger part of those 
of St John's. The boundary which separates those parishes from St Giles' is drawn 
along the artificial trenches which part the College grounds from the green that skirts 
Queens' Road. This is surely a curious and suggestive phenomenon. We may be 
quite sure that no parishioner, unless he lived in Newnham hamlet, ever crossed from 
the western bank to attend any of these four churches. Since the mammoth wallowed 
there no human being has ever set his habitation on the low-lying land from Queens' 
garden to the St John's New Court. On the slight elevation at Newnham the Car- 
melites once made a settlement, but they were driven out by floods. And as the 
parsons had no flocks to seek in that wilderness so they had no tithes to draw from 
it ; for it was common pasture of the town. And in primitive ages, before bridges 
were made, no prudent East Anglian householder, whose byre was near the Market 
Place, ferried pigs and cows to the western bank and left them there at the mercy 
of any Mercian who took the trouble to cross a narrow ditch. Above the town and 
below it the river is a parish boundary : at Cambridge, except in the quarter of the 
Bridge, it seems to be ignored. And yet it is in the Bridge quarter that the hypothesis 
postulates that the Cam, as we see it to-day, was not a boundary between two hostile 
peoples. 

The circumstance that St Giles' parish is nowadays so effectively parted from St 
Clement's, coupled with the fact that it has no natural demarcation from the southern 
parishes, at first sight seems to demolish the theory that St Giles', together with St 
Clement's and St Sepulchre's, formed a settlement distinct from the southern town. 
The solution of this difficulty is partly to be found in my Communication, already 
referred to, on the Watercourse called Cambridge. When I wrote that Communication 
various questions suggested themselves to me to which I did not then see an answer. 
The solution which I now see is simple enough — revolutionary perhaps, but not 
hazardous. I am going to ask you to obliterate from your map of primitive Cambridge 
the whole of the present course of the Cam from the Mill Pit above Queens' to St 
John's New Court. 

That the high banks of the modern stream along this stretch are artificial is 
patent to the eye. That its angles and curves are not those of a natural river is 
evident if we compare it with the river-channels on and above Sheep's Green. That 
its course has been diverted in parts within historical times is shown in the plan of 



ARTHUR GRAY 



19 



the ground at the back of Trinity and Trinity Hall which Mr Clark gives in the 
fourth volume of the Architectural History. But I go further and argue that this 
river-course did not exist at all before the artificial leats were made which bring the 
water from the river above Sheep's Green to the Mill above Queens' and that at 
Newnham. Between these leats we may still see old river-beds wandering over the 
low ground, and in exceptional floods the water pours into them over the banks of 
the leats. At this low level existed the Mills, which, next to its strategic advantages, 
gave most importance to early Cambridge. One of them, Zouch's Mill, existed there 
until 1352. The slightness of the river-fall suggested the weiring of the river and 
the construction of the high water-channels, and these works may possibly be as old 
as the Conquest. With the growth of the town and the increase of river traffic came 
another need, the construction of hithes accessible to packhorses or wheeled vehicles, 
for which a hard, sloping bank, cot liable to inundation, was indispensable. Hence 
the diversion of the river into the artificial channel at the back of King's and 
Queens'. 

Bowtell in his MSS. (vol. ill. pp. 687 and foil.) has some interesting comments on 
the old course of the river. Among other things he says: 

In the year 1756 the kerb of a well, iuithin the river, two feet below 
the bed of it, was discovered in preparing the foundation of Queens' College 
new bi;ilding, and was examined by Mr Essex, the architect. 

It appears to me impossible that the natural river could have maintained itself 
at the high level of its present bed. In times of exceptional flood, as in November 
1894, a torrent sweeps in uninterrupted course from Newnham Pool to Trinity Paddocks, 
and the surface level is lowest next the ditch that girdles Queens' grove. It was lower 
still four hundred years ago. For four centuries and longer Cambridge has been 
steadily raising the level of the grounds on the western side of the river. We have 
seen the process going on in recent years on Queens' Green and in Trinity Paddocks. 
It was going on in 1475, when the town covenanted with Queens' College to be 
allowed to deposit rubbish on the space between the College grove and the road 
leading to Newnham^ Bowtell has intei'esting evidence of what was being done in 
his time. Writing in 1805 he says : 

The grounds on the back of the Colleges, lying on the west side of the 
river, have been considerably raised within the last 20 years, especially in 
1791-2-3, by means of earth taken out of the churchyards of St Michael, St 
Edward, Great St Mary, All Saints, Great St Andrew, St Giles and St 
Sepulchre. 

Again, writing of the site of Sir George Darwin's house at Newnham, he says : 

A neat dwelling-house was erected here some years ago by Mr Beales, 
a merchant, who caused the surface to be considerably raised, the ground 
thereabouts being then very low, though not so swampy as it formerly was, 
when several small streams ran through it and occasioned the erection of as 
many little bridges. ...Hence this part of the town came to be denominated 
Small Bridges. 



1 Architectural History, vol. Ii. p. 6. 



3—2 



20 



TFlh: DUAL ORIGIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



The small streams of which Bowtell writes must once have been considerable 
■currents, and they must have brought down not a part, but the whole body, of the 
water from the upper river. Their general course, as I pointed out in my Communi- 
•cation, was along the ditches at the backs of the Colleges. Their devious channels 
have been straightened out of all resemblance to a natural river, and the parish 
bounds have been made to conform with their artificial course. Part of the ground 
through wliich the old streams found their way is called in the Field Books 
'Thousand Willows,' and the name suggests that a dense growth of trees in old 
times increased the inipassability of the morass that lay between Mercian and 
East Anglian. 

At St John's Wilderness the old river was joined by the Bin Brook coming from 
Coton Field. A little further on the united stream parted into three branches. The 
westernmost was the watercourse called Cambrigge. The middle one ran into the 
present channel of the Cam at the end of Fisher's Lane, where the Bin Brook still 
discharges. Neither of these courses served as a parish limit. The third was and is 
the boundary between the parishes of All Saints and St Giles. It existed as an open 
watercourse until St John's College New Court was erected, and was known as the 
St John's College Ditch. It now passes from a weir on the Bin Brook under the 
New Court, and emerges in the river at a wooden door opposite the Library. On either 
side it had the low peaty grounds which occasioned so much difficulty and expense 
when Rickman's building was put up. Nature required small assistance here to part 
East Anglian from Mercian, though the straight course and the rectangular bend of 
the Ditch, where it quits the Bin Brook, indicate here too an artificial modification. 

It is exactly where the St John's Ditch met the present river that the latter, 
for the only part of its course, begins to be a parish boundary, and parts St Giles' 
from St Clement's. The reason of this must be that the Ditch represents the main 
branch of the old Cam, which from this point followed the present course of the river 
to the Bridge. Where the modern river begins to be a parish boundary it ceases to 
be the tribal bound. A little consideration will unravel this puzzle. Above the point 
of junction it was not so much the river as the marsh that divided the peoples. 
Near Newnham the marsh was at its narrowest, and fords or bridges existed. There 
the extension of the parishes of Little St Mary and St Botolph across the ancient 
river channels proves that either bank was in the hands of the East Anglians. But 
between Newnham and St John's New Court there was a Serbonian bog profound 
enough to sink armies whole. From north to .south, fi'om east to west, even in the 
later middle ages, no trackway traversed it, and its wandering streams knew neither 
bridge nor ford of sufficient consequence to have a name\ At the Bridge the river 
was fordable. The banks were lower than they are now- and the volume of the water 
was less, partly because it was not weired below the Bridge, partly because it was 

1 Queens' Road, from Newnham to the Madingley Road, is modern. The sixteenth century notes 
in the Field Books give the fullest particulars of roads and driftways in the fields on the western side 
of the river. They all traversed the high ground at a distance from the Backs. The most important 
was Barton Way, which began at Ashwyke Stone, near the Castle, crossed the University Rifle Range, 
where traces of its hedgerows are still discernible, and joined the present Barton Road at Barton Cross, 
which stood on the boundary of Cambridge and Coton Fields. Garret Hostel Bridge is first mentioned 
by Dr Caius in 1573. (See the quotation from his History in Architectural History, vol. i. p. 215, note.) 

In the year 1273 there was a great flood at Cambridge, and the water rose five feet above the 
level of the Great Bridge. The fact is recorded in the Chronica of John de Oxenedes (Rolls Series), p. 221. 



ARTHUR GRAY 



21 



dissipated in the two already mentioned channels, viz. the main river and the Cam- 
bridge watercourse, and a third of which I have yet to speak. Though the banks 
were lower there was no marsh near the Bridge, about which houses were congregated 
on either side in the earliest times of which we have record. Even before the Bridge 
was built the transit from one side to the other was perfectly free. Between Mercian 
and Mercian the river was no bar to intercourse. 

So far I have attempted to show that the old western course of the Cam, indicated 
by parish boundaries, served, with its environing marsh, as an impassable barrier between 
the northern and the southern town. I shall now take the opposite side of the river 
and examine the bounds of All Saints' parish on the side next the northern town. 
The boundary begins at a bay in the river between the Library of St John's College 
and the Master's garden. It follows the route of a lane, called St John's Lane, which 
belonged to the Corporation and was closed in 1862, when the Chapel was built and 
the First Court extended. It crosses St John's Street near the Divinity Schools, skirts 
the northern side of the churchyard and of All Saints' Passage, passes across Bridge 
Street between the Hoop Hotel and the corner of Jesus Lane, and so gets to Park 
Street. Here we may stop for the present and consider what indications there may 
be of the existence of an ancient watercourse in this neighbourhood. A recent Com- 
munication of Professor Hughes, on Superficial Deposits under Cambridge \ supplies 
exactly the information which is wanted. In that Communication he speaks of ' a 
depression running across from St John's College to somewhere near Jesus Lane,' and 
he goes on to say: 

There was a deep ditch through here which was exposed when the 
foundations for the Divinity Schools were dug. The ditch seems to have 
formed the northern boundary of All Saints' churchyard and was full of 
human bones, probably thrown in from time to time as new interments in 
that crowded churchyard necessitated the disturbance of ancient graves. The 
ditch crossed the street and passed away under St John's College'^. 

I think that Professor Hughes' remarks leave no ro(jm for doubt that in this 
deep ditch we have lighted on an old watercourse, or branch of the river, which parted 
the Field of the southern folk from the houses of the northern town. It starts im- 

1 Communications, vol. xi. p. 411. 

2 The silence of early docunients relating to property in the vicinity is negative evidence for the 
extreme antiquity of this ditch. It formed the northern boundary of the town land which in the twelfth 
century was occupied by the Hospital, but Mr R. F. Scott assures me that there is no record of its 
•existence in the muniments of St John's College. Among the early charters of St Radegund's Nunnery 
are several relating to houses which adjoined All Saints' churchyard, but none of these properties ai-e 
described as abutting on a ditch. The Hundred Rolls and the Liber Meniorandorur/i are equally silent 
about it. The bones discovered in it unquestionably prove that this was the position of the cemetery 
of the Hospital. In the treasury of St John's College there is a thirteenth century lease of a messuage 
belonging to Richard Crocheman, which is described as abutting on three of its sides on the cemetery 
of All Saints' church, the cemetery of the Hospital and quemdam Judaismum (compare with this 
Architectural History, vol. ii. p. 248, note). Baker in his History of St John's College (ed. Mayor, 
I. -p. 43) speaks of ' an old grant where there is mention of a house standing betwixt the cemetery of 
All Saints' and the cemetery of St John's hospital, so that they were only parted by a house; and 
the many bones and skulls dug up under the neighbouring houses sufficiently evince that a cemetery 
has been there.' The Hospital acquired the right of sepulture uhi voltieririt by a license dated about 
1210 (Charter 180 in my Priory of St Radegund). The ditch must have been filled in before that time. 



22 



THE DUAL ORICJIN OK THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



inedi.'itely opposite the ditcli uudoi- St John's New Court and was a continuation 
of it. It was not parted from it by the breadth of the river, since it is only at this 
point that the present river-bed coincides with the old one, just where the boundaries 
of St Giles', St Clement's and All Saints' meet. Next, it passed along the route of 
St John's Lane, the straightness of which suggests artificial modification. The ground 
through which it passed was very poor — so the burgesses described the Hospital site — 
and no doubt it was swampy. Deep river silt was found in digging the site of the new 
buildings west of the Chapel of St John's. Between the Divinity Schools and the edge of 
All Saints' churchyard the ditch makes a rectangular bay which was possibly the position 
of a guardhouse protecting a bridge on the northern side. All Saints' Passage from 
St John's gate to the Hoop Hotel next represents its direction, and then in Park 
Street it joined the King's Ditch at something like a right angle\ The King's Ditch 
in other parts was probably a work of post-Conquest days. But here we may assume 
that its makers utilized an already existing channel. Where Park Street bends sharply 
towards Jesus Green the King's Ditch parted company with the St John's Lane 
Ditch and running directly for the river entered it immediately opposite the outlet 
of the northern King's Ditch, or Cambridge watercourse. The lower part of Park 
Street has the natural sinuosity of a fiver, and the St John's Lane Ditch followed 
its windings to the Common. Loggan's plan= shows that it was continued in the 
brook skirting Jesus Close, which Professor Hughes in his Communication (p. 413) 
recognises as probably 'an ancient watercourse maintained as a boundary.' Jesus 
Brook now passes under the Common into the river near Callaby'sl 

When it reached the Common the St John's Lane Ditch passed away from St 
Clement's and began to bound the parishes of All Saints and Barnwell. St Clement's 

1 It has often puzzled me why Jesus Lane joins the main street, i.e. Bridge Street and Sidney Street, 
in such aia inconveniently rectangular way, instead of making directly for the road junction at the 
Eound Church. As the ground in the direct line was high and dry, there was nothing to ])revent it 
from doing so. Perhaps the reason was that in that direction it was barred by the St John's Lane Ditch, 
and that the crossing could only be effected in Bridge Street. Or perhaps there was only one crossing, 
that at the Divinity Schools. The dangerous crossing where Magdalene Street is joined by Noi-thami^ton 
Street and Chesterton Lane is clearly accounted for by the Cambridge watercourse, which could only be 
crossed at Cambridge Bridge ; otherwise the two latter streets would have made directly for the Great 
Bridge. Obsei-ve that, as they are carried through the vallum, they must have been directed in their 
present course at a time when the vallum had ceased to serve as a defence, though the watercourse was 
still something more than a ditch. 

2 Architectural History, vol. II. p. 116. 

3 I think that there is little doubt that the Nunneslake mentioned in Cooper's Annals (vol. i. 
pp. 196, note and 278) was the Jesus Brook. ' Lake ' in this name is not the modern word derived from 
Latin lacus, but the old English for 'a piece of running water' {Promptorium, rivulus). The Countess 
Constance in Stephen's reign granted the Nuns of St Radegund 'all the fishing and waters belonging 
to the hurgus' Cambridge. But king John's charter {Annals, vol. i. p. 33) granted to the burgesses, along 
with other appurtenances of the town, ' mills, waters and pools,' and at the time of the Hundred Rolls 
survey the Cambridge jurors affirmed that the townsfolk had a common piscaria in the common waters 
of the town {Hundred Rolls, \o\. ii. p. 391). It does not appear that either the Nuns or Jesus College 
ever claimed a right of fishing in the main channel of the river below the town. In the reign of Charles II 
the mayor and aldermen fished 'according to custom' once a year from Newnham Pit to the town 
boundary at Bullen, next Ditton Field, as evidence of their right {Alderman Newt07i's Diary, ed. Foster, 
p. 11). But that the Nuns did possess certain fishing rights is shown by the fact that the grant of 
Constance was confirmed in a charter of Edward II. A sixteenth century document \\\ the treasury 
of Jesus College describes this charter of Edward II as ' a grante of y« fishing along by Jesus Greene.' 




Old Courses of the Cam 



ARTHUR GRAY 



23 



marches with Barnwell along the edge of the Common, where Park Parade is now 
built. Here we have no difficulty in finding the watercourse that divided the northern 
and southern towns. It exists still in a channel which supplies the water to Jesus 
Brook from the river above the lock. Before Park Parade was built it ran in an 
open course, but now it is covered in. Though the water now runs from the river 
into Jesus Brook, before the water level was raised by the lock it obviously ran in 
a contrary direction ; and by this route, as well as by the Jesus Brook, the St John's 
Lane Ditch found its way to the river. The sections on pp. 403, 404 of Professor Hughes' 
Communication show a stratum of peaty silt in the region of Park Parade, indicating 
a marshy bed. Tn this channel, represented in Loggan's plan as a naturally curving 
brook, we see the last stretch of the Anglo-Mercian border moat. 

It may be convenient to put in a connected order the facts which I read into 
this new chapter of what I may call the pi'e-history of Cambridge. Facts perhaps 
I have no right to call them. Whithersoever the evidence has led, I have attempted 
to bridge the lacunae in its track with conjectural stepping-stones, and, at least in 
some matters, I think that I have reached solid ground. One conclusion, and that 
the central and important one, as I may fairly claim, rises above the region of con- 
jecture — the occupation of Cambridge in the eighth century and in earlier centuries 
by two communities — Mercians and East Anglians. 

The settlement of East Anglians in Norfolk and Suffolk was probably almost 
simultaneous with the Jutish occupation of Kent (449), and was perhaps completed 
before 500. South-eastern Cambridgeshire and the fen country about Ely were occupied 
at a later date and may have been outlying principalities or aldermanships of the 
central government fixed at Thetford in Norfolk. When the East Anglian colonists 
had advanced as far as Cambridge they found their progress barred by Mercians 
who had entered the district from the region of Huntingdonshire and Northampton- 
shire. The settlement of the southern parts of the county by the two peoples was 
completed before the end of the sixth century. Cambridge on both sides of the 
river was probably in the possession of the Mercians. Between 617 and 632 East 
Anglia under Raedwald rose to the first place among Anglo-Saxon kingdoms and 
extended its borders at the expense of Mercia. It annexed a fair-sized district in the 
south-eastern corner of the county and some townships near Cambridge, and finally 
drove the Mercians out of Cambridge, appropriating both banks of the river at the 
Castle End and leaving only the Castle area in the hands of the Mercians. To this 
time we may ascribe the construction of Aermeswerch and the Cambridge watercourse. 
Between the years 637 and 654 the terrible power of Mercia was revealed under 
Penda, but his raids in East Anglian Cambridgeshire seem to have resulted in no 
permanent alteration of the boundary. After Winwaed (655) the East Anglians recovered 
their wasted territory and remained in occupation of it until at least 700. After that 
date East Anglia sinks into obscurity, and we know no more of its history than that 
it was constantly in alliance with Northumbria and Wessex. With those kingdoms 
Mei-cia was as constantly at war, and its power steadily grew until it culminated under 
Offa (758-796), who attempted the subjugation of East Anglia. At some time during 
the eighth century the Mercians recovered the northern bank of the river, and so 
much of the southern bank as was included in the area of the parishes of St Clement 
and St Sepulchre. To this period belongs the construction of the border moat which 
I call the St John's Lane Ditch. To each town was reserved its adjoining Field, and 



24. 



THE DUAL ORKJTN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



cacli town liad its priest or churcli supported by the tithes of the Field. When the 
Mercians had gained both banks they built the Bridge ; the East Anglians held both 
sides of the river at the Small Bridges. After OflFa's death the Mercian attacks on 
East Anglia were renewed, but the East Anglians called in the aid of Egbert of 
Wessex (823), and were able to repel them. After 827 both kingdoms were in permanent 
subjection to Wessex, but they continued to subsist until the Danish incursions in 
the last quarter of the century. The Danish occupation of Cambridgeshire was neither 
so complete nor so permanent as that of Norfolk and Suffolk. Edward the Elder 
recovered the county in 921 and fixed its boundary at the Devil's Dyke. During or 
after the Danish occupation the district became recognised as a shire, but the old 
political divisions were still maintained in the partition of the county between the 
earldoms of Huntingdon and East Anglia, and the Isle of Ely retained a quasi-inde- 
pendence of the rest of the county. The phantom of Mercian royalty in Cambridgeshire 
disappeared in the reign of Edward I, when the Scottish kings forfeited the remnants 
of the earldom of Huntingdon. A shred of an ancient East Anglian earldom existed 
until last century in the temporal jurisdiction of the bishops of Ely ; and of that 
earldom another trace survived until Camden's day in the curious arrangement that 
the sheriff was chosen out of Huntingdonshire one year, out of the Isle of Ely, the 
second, and out of Cambridgeshire, the third. 



APPENDIX. 

§ 1. The Doomsday Wards. 

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries Cambridge contained seven wards, viz. 
the Ward beyond the Bridge, Bridge Ward, High Ward, Market Ward, Trumpington 
(or Preachers') Ward, Milne Ward and Barnwell. In Doomsday there are ten. Probably 
parishes had no existence in Cambridge in 1086, but I take the ten Doomsday wards 
as districts, each of which may then have contained a church, and not much later 
was recognised as a parish. The ward bounds in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries 
did not exactly correspond with those of the parishes. For example, the High Ward 
extended northwards as far as St John's Lane, so as to include a part, but not the 
whole, of All Saints' parish. In this case the ward would seem to be older than the 
parish. We can determine the general position of the Doomsday wards with reasonable 
certainty. In all old enumerations of Cambridge wards and parishes the list begins 
at the Castle End. It is so in Hundred Rolls, in the tallages of 1312 and 1340, in 
the list of parish wardens of 142G, in the high-gable rentals of 1483 and in the 
rental of Barnwell Priory in the Liher Meniorandorum (pp. 282 — 290). All these lists 
follow a certain geographical order and usually end with the southern wards (either 
Trumpington or Milne) and the parishes there, but sometimes Barnwell is put last. 
This order, I have little question, is observed in Doomsday. The first ward is obviously 
beyond the Bridge : it contained the twenty-seven houses destroyed by the Conqueror 
' pro castro.' The second ward is called ' brugge-warde ' in Inquisitio Eliensis. The 



ARTHUR GRAY 17820S9 



25 



same authority says that Ely Abbey had a church in the fourth ward : it can only 
have been St Andrew's the Great. The intervening third ward probably contained 
Barnwell and the green which was afterwards comprised in the parishes of All Saints 
and St Radegund. Wards 5 to 10 must then include the whole of the southern 
town. Next to the first ward, which, Doomsday says, was reckoned, T. R. E., as two, 
the fifth ward was the largest: probably it was near the Market. The tenth ward 
was the smallest. It was probably near the Mills. Six houses had been destroyed 
in this ward, and Doomsday tells us that Picot, the sheriff, destroyed several houses to 
make his mills. 

The sixth ward is a well-known crux. Doomsday mentions it but gives no figures 
of masurae contained in it : Inquisitio Eliensis does the same. Against all probability 
Dr Walker supposes that this ward was next the first and contained the twenty-seven 
houses destroyed ' pro castro.' But not only does Doomsday omit to mention the masurae 
contained in it ; it makes it plain that it contained no masurae, for, if we include 
the twenty-seven destroyed houses, the number of masurae in the Conqueror's time 
was exactly the same as in the Confessor's, viz. four hundreds I conclude that the 
ward was a new one at the time of Doomsday, taking the place of the merged ward 
and completing the number of ten wards, which 'are and were,' as Doomsday says. In 
the reckoning its masurae were included in the adjoining fifth or seventh ward. 

If this interpretation of the position of the Doomsday wards be accepted the totals 
of masurae, inhabited and waste, in 1086 were thus : 

Inhabited Waste 

Wards 1 and 2 = northern town 98 4 

Wards 3 and 4 = Barnwell and 'the Green' 51 35 

Wards 5 — 10 = southern town 181 4 



Total 
102 

185 



The figures do not include the twenty-seven houses in the northern town which 
were destroyed ' pro castro.' The large amount of waste — four-fifths of the whole — 
contained in wards 3 and 4 will be remarked. In the same wards there were but 
61 inhabited masurae as compared with 132 at the time of Hundred Rolls. It is 
reasonable to conclude that Barnwell, which contained 99 houses in 1278, accounted 
for most of them. The population of these two wards, between 1086 and 1278, 
increased much more rapidly than that of either of the other parts of the town. 

1 Like the hide reckonings of townships and hundreds, which are commonly multijjles of five, this 
round number is evidently an arbitrary sum, fixed for assessment purposes and immutable. Cambridge 
was reckoned as a hundred, that is, it was rated as worth one hundred hides. As four virgates make 
a hide it follows that the town masura was taken to be worth an agricultural virgate. If the masura 
at Cambridge was rated at sixpence per annum, as was the case at Colchester, the total assessment 
of the town, T. E. E., was £10. At the time of Doomsday the 'land-gavel,' which included 'haw-gavel,' 
amounted to £7. 3s. M. : the difierence is accounted for by the waste and the tenements which in 
Doomsday are returned as not taxable. Professor Maitland {Township and Borough, p. 181) comments 
on the 'marvellous permanence' of the sum of the 'haw -gavel' rent in Cambridge from Doomsday to 
Eichard III : it always ' seems to lie between £7 and £8. ' 



C. A. S. Quarto Series. No. I. 



26 



THE DUAL ORIGIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



§ 2. Warda castri, Ward-pennies and Pontage. 

In the excellent glossary to his edition of the Liber Memorandorum Mr Clark 
distinguishes between warda castri, which he explains as ' the duty of garrisoning a 
castle, or the sum paid in commutation of the same/ and ward-penny, warth-imies , 
which he takes to be ' the duty of finding inwards, that is guards for the king's 
person and goods when he comes into the county.' But a little examination proves 
that there is no such distinction, and that the explanation of warda castri applies also 
to ward-penny. If the terms are not synonymous the difference is that warda castri 
was originally the duty of garrisoning a castle, and ward-jmmy the substitute in money 
for it. This is the difference implied in a charter of Richard I (1189) confirming the 
privileges of the Church of Ely : ' ita quod milites de honore sanctae Etheldredae qui 
solebant facere wardam in praedicto castello [de Norwico] faciant eam in Ely ad 
summonitionem Eliensis Episcopi ; sit etiam quieta ipsa ecclesia...de wardpeny de quad- 
raginta solidis qui requirebantur de terra sua et de hominibus suis' (Gartul. Monast. 
de Rameseia, i. p. 116). The list in the Liber Memorandorum is headed — ' Annotacio 
feodorum comitatuum Cantabrigiensis et Huntendonensis, auxilii vicecomitis, sectarum 
et warthpenes.' But except in the case of the first vill in the list, Stanton, and the 
last, Ickleton, which are said to owe ' warpanes,' or ' wardipeny,' the term employed 
throughout the list of vills is not luarthpenes but warda castri. Moreover a detailed 
comparison of the Liber Memorandorum with the Hundred Rolls shows that the service 
which the former calls tuarda castri is sometimes called warpanes, or wardsylver in 
the latter. Sometimes in Hundred Rolls a property is said to owe both warda castri 
and 'war-panes,' but in every such case the warda castri is due to a baronial castle, 
not to Cambridge. For example, at Stanton Nicholas de Cheney owes luarda castri 
to Richmond as well as ' warpanes,' the latter clearly to Cambridge. 

While the Hundred Rolls give what purports to be a complete return of all 
properties charged with castle ward, or ward-pence, whether to Cambridge or to baronial 
castles, the list in the Liber Memorandorum includes only those which owed service 
to the King's castle at Cambridge. This is made clear in the note prefixed to the 
Liber Memorandorum list, in which it is said that ' whereas the sheriff's servants 
frequently make arbitrary and unjust distraints, unduly distraining some and sparing 
others who should rightly be distrained, ...it is worth while writing in this book the 
names of hundreds, tenants and tenements which owe such services, and from ancient 
times have owed them.' The list includes not merely the Priory tenants but all land- 
holders in the county who were responsible for the services ; the object being not only 
to protect the Priory tenant in case of unjust distraint but to enable him to transfer 
the burden to those who should rightly bear it. ' So/ adds the writer, ' in case of 
such distraint in future it will not be necessary to go to the Castle in order to see the 
sheriff's roll, but men may see and be informed by this book.' 

The East Anglian hundreds were Chilford, Radfield, Cheveley, Stapelhow, Stane, 
Fiendish and the two hundreds of Ely. The Mercian hundreds were Chesterton, Arming- 
ford, North Stow, Papworth, Long Stow, Triplow, Wetherley and Whittlesford. In the 
Liber Memorandorum list the eight Mercian hundreds are significantly placed together 
at the beginning: six East Anglian hundreds follow, and the Ely hundreds are omitted. 
I give a list of vills contained in the Mercian hundreds which belonged to the Honour 
of Huntingdon or owed castle ward (ward-pence) or pontage to Cambridge. 



ARTHUR GRAY 



27 



Chesterton Hundred 
Childerley 
Dry Drayton 
Westwick 
Histon 



Clopton 

Croydon 

Guilden Morden 
North Stow Hundred 

Oakington 

Long Stanton 

Landbeach 

Girton 

Lolworth 
Papxcorth Hundred 

Boxworth 

Conington 



Over 

Papworth Everard 
Papworth Agnes 



Honour of 
Huntingdon 

Long Stow Hundred 

Caldecote + 

Kingston + 

Croxton + 

Toft 

Bourne 

Eltisley 

Eversden 

Triploiv Hundred 
Triplow + 
Trumpington 

Wetherley Hundred 
Barton + 
Comberton + 
Arrington + 
Grautchester + 
Orwell + 
Wratworth (in Or^ 
Wimpole 

Whittlesford Hundred 
Hinxton 
Ickleton 
Duxford 



.ell) . 



In the Hundi^ed Rolls Trumpington, Papworth Agnes and Eversden are said to 
owe ward to Cambridge Castle, but not so in the Libe7- Memorandorum. On the other 
hand Guilden Morden, Croydon and Ickleton, which, according to the latter, owed ward 
to Cambridge, do not occur in the list which I have taken from the Hundred Rolls. 
The reason is that the two former vills are entirely omitted in the Hundred Rolls, 
and that the MS. is defective in the case of Ickleton. Otherwise the two lists are in 
strict correspondence. 

The following list gives the vills which in the Hundred Rolls are said to pay 
ward to baronial castles. They are scattered indiscriminately over the Mercian and 
East Anglian parts of southern Cambridgeshire. Those vills which are said to pay 
ward-pence, as well as ward to the specified castle, are distinguished by the 
letters WP. 



Richmond 
Babraham 
Pampisford 
Barham (Linton) 
Horseheath 
Little Abington 
Waterbeach 
Girton (WP) 
Long Stanton (WP) 
Swavesey 
SwafFham Prior 
Swalfham Bulbeck 
Burwell 
Badlingham 
Landwade 



Richmond (eont.) 
Toft 
Bourne 
Caldecote 

Malton (in Orwell) 
Wimpole 
West Wickham 
Duxford 

Pech 

Lolworth (WP) 

Heachingham 

Little Wilbraham 



4—2 



28 



THE DUAL ORIUIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



Rockingli.am 
Orwell 
Barton 

Cotes (in (Jrantchester) 
Long Stanton (WP) 

The following vills in the Hundred Hulls pay war 

Oakington 
Lolworth (WP) 



Trumpington 

Peverel 

Trumpington 

d to castles unspecified : 

Girton 
Bourne 



The following viUs in the Hundred Rolls are said to pay ward-pence (ward-silver) 
to castles unspecified : 



Westwick 

Childerley 

Histon 

Oakington 

Milton 



Landbeach 

Lolworth 

Girton 

Long Stanton 

Olmstead (Castle Camps) 



Tevershara 

Fulbourn 

Cherry Hinton 

Soham 

Isleham 

Ashley 



The seven last named are in East Anglian hundreds. Olmstead certainly paid to 
Richmond. Of Teversham, Cherry Hinton and Fulbourn it is stated in the Hundred 
Rolls that they now owe ward to the Bishop of Ely, but formerly to the King. They 
are clearly to be included in the Ely possessions which owed ward to Norwich, but 
whose service was transferred by King Richard I to Ely (see page 13, note). Soham, 
Isleham and Ashley paid perhaps to Norwich, perhaps to baronial castles. 

I have not discovered more than eight instances of pontage charge in the Hundred 
Rolls. They are for properties in 



Childerley 
Histon 
Oakington 
Long Stanton 



Eltisley 
Bourne 

Swaffham Prior 
Quy-Stow 



The two last are in East Anglian hundreds. As the vill of Swaffham Prior was 
mainly in the hands of the Prior of Ely there can be little doubt that the payment 
was for Ely or Aldreth Bridge. Quy may have paid to Ely, or perhaps to Ramsey, 
as the Abbot of Ramsey was chief tenant there. In any case neither vill forms an 
exception to the rule that pontage for Cambridge was charged only in the Mercian 
hundreds. In Cooper's Annals, anno 1752, a list is given of 'manors and lands charge- 
able to the repair of the Great Bridge in Cambridge.' All of them are in the Mercian 
hundreds, and Swaffham and Quy are not included. Every vill named in the Liber 
Memorandorum occurs in the list of 1752, and two besides, viz. Hardwick and 
Whittlesford. 



ARTHUR GRAY 



29 



§ 3. The Isle of Ely. 

Ztier Eliensis, bk I. ch. 15. ' Nec quidem, juxta quorundam estimacionetn, El^e 
de provincia est Cantebrige, sed re vera, sicut Beda docet, Orientalium Anglorum, 
dignitate et magnitudine regio vocata familiaruin circiter sescentarum.' 

This passage was written in the twelfth century. Of course the jyrovincia of 
Cambridge is the shire, the whole of which, excepting the Fordham deanery, was in 
Lincoln diocese until the creation of the see of Ely. The contention of the Ely monks 
was apparently that the Isle from ancient times possessed a certain independence of 
Cambridgeshire, East Anglian as well as Mercian ; and such was probably the fact. 
Tondberht, the first husband of Etheldreda, was 'princeps australium Girviorum' (Baeda, 
Hist. Eccl. IV. 19). Princeps was a common Latin rendering of ealdorman. Baeda 
thrice applies the name regio to the Ely district, and it is frequently so applied in 
the Liher Eliensis. In all these cases I take it that regio has the precise meaning 
of a province governed by an ealdorman, regidus, or 'half-king.' The common moot- 
stow of the Ely hundreds was Witchford, and for most purposes the two were regarded 
as one. Whether south-eastern Cambridgeshire had an ealdorman of its own or was 
governed directly by the East Anglian kings I do not know. The tons in the western 
and northern parts of the Isle suggest a population which was not East Anglian. The 
Liher Eliensis expressly says that Doddington was an island distinct from that of Ely. 
In Appendix, § 5, I have remarked that the Ely tenures in villenage were peculiar 
and distinct from those which prevailed in the Mercian or the purely East Anglian 
hundreds. 

§ 4. Hams and Tons. 

An Ordnance Map in which parish bounds are marked will best indicate the 
distribution of hams and tons in Cambridgeshire and the nearest parts of the adjoining 
counties. They lie for the most part in blocks which are not conterminous with the 
county bounds. For example, most of the tons of south-eastern Cambs. are on the 
Essex and Herts, border, and the hams of Suffolk are generally near Norfolk and 
Cambs. From the nine sheets of the one-inch Ordnance Map in which the town of 
Cambridge occupies a nearly central position, and from the sheet which includes the 
angle of Norfolk next Cambs. I get the following figures. They give the percentage 
to the whole of parishes with the ham and ton suffix in each district. 





Ham 


Ton 


South-eastern hundreds of Cambs. 


36-5 


19-5 


Norfolk 


34 


19 


SuflFolk 


18-5 


18-5 


Herts, and Essex 


10-5 


10-5 


Beds., Hunts., and Northants. 


3-5 


27 


South-western hundreds of Cambs. 


2-5 


39 



In the southern parts of the Isle of Ely there are three tons on the Hunts, 
border : one (Wilburton) is detached. There are five hams in the neighbourhood of 
Ely. The Mercian hundreds of Cambs. contain only two hams, Cottenham and Willing- 
ham. All the remaining hams of southern Cambs, are in the East Anglian hundreds. 



30 



THE DUAL ORIGIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



but these contain also seven tons, viz. Cherry Hinton, Fen Ditton, Linton, Abington, 
Carlton (perhaps a Danish settlement, as Prof. Skeat suggests in his Place Names of 
Cambridgeshire), Wood Ditton and Sexton (Saxon Street, apparently an East Saxon 
settlement). The tons and hams may be regarded as marking the distribution of the 
races in or before the sixth century, whereas the hundred divisions cannot be earlier 
than the tenth centur}'. It would seem that the East Anglians, before the extinction 
of the independence of the two kingdoms, had extended their original bounds by the 
annexation of two vills next Cambridge and of five in the south-eastern corner of the 
shire ; but of the last some were perhaps originally East Saxon settlements. Norfolk, 
rather than Suffolk, appears to have supplied the population of south-eastern Cambs. 
It is worth remarking how many village names in East Anglian Cambs. are repeated 
in Norfolk and Suffolk — Fordham, Thetford, Isleham (Doomsday, Gisleham, compare 
Gislingham, Suffolk), Soham (Doomsday, Saham, compare Saham-Tony, Norfolk and 
Earl-Soham, Suffolk), Swaffham, Babraham (Doomsday, Badburgham, compare Badberg 
or Baberg hundred, Suffolk), Downham. 

§ 5. BOEDARS AND COTTARS. 
To other indications that Cambridgeshire was once parted between two distinct 
nationalities I may add a suggestion on the distribution of hordarii and cottarii in 
the southern hundreds. The cottar class in Doomsday is altogether unrepresented in 
the six East Anglian hundreds, if we except four cottars who are found in a single 
manor (Fulbourn) in Fiendish hundred. Nor is there any mention of it in the neigh- 
bouring hundred of Whittlesford. In the remaining seven Mercian hundreds both 
bordars and cottars are numerous in every vill and hundred. The totals of the several 
classes of the population, as supplied by Doomsday, are as follows: 





Viilani 


Bordarii 


Cottarii 


Servi 


Sochemanni 


Seven Mercian hundreds 


815 


851 


552 


204 


121 


Six East Anglian hundreds 


739| 


481 


4 


244 


58 


Whittlesford hundred 


99 


72 


0 


18 


1 


Two Ely hundreds 


268 


17 


171 


95 


63 



We may agree with Professor Maitland {Doomsday Book and Beyond, pp. 38 — 41) 
that bordars and cottars belonged to the villain class, but that their holdings were 
smaller and their tenure more servile than was the case of the villain particularly so 
called, and that the cottar was lower in the landed scale than the bordar. It is not 
certain that in all counties and in all hundreds there was a real distinction between 
bordars and cottars, but in Doomsday Cambridgeshire there are plenty of manors which 
contained both classes, and in such cases we must assume that there was a distinction. 
I think that it is more than a coincidence that the East Anglian hundreds are just 
those which exclude the cottars, while in seven Mercian hundreds they are universally 
distributed and amount to 21*7 per cent, of the whole population. Whittlesford hundred 
undoubtedly makes a difficulty. Like the neighbouring East Anglian hundreds it has 
no cottars : yet, as it is within the ton region and three manors in it owed castle 
ward or pontage, it is clearly a Mercian hundred. The tenure of lands in villenage 
in the Ely hundreds differed from that in Mercian or in East Anglian Cambs. The Ely 
villains in each class had lands of varying acreage, and the extent of the holding is 
generally stated: viilani held from 15 to 6 acres, hordarii from 8 to 4, and cottarii, 
in the cases stated, not more than one. 



ARTHUR GRAY 



31 



§ 6. Grantebrycge and Cantebrige. 

Professor Skeat has shown in his Place Names of Cambridgeshire that from 875 
to 1140 the name of the town was always — with unimportant varieties of spelling — 
Grantebr^^cge. He regards the form Cantebrige, which began to appear soon after 
1140, and the other variants of it with initial C, as due to Norman mispronunciation. 
I am reluctant to challenge his high authority on a matter of English philology, but 
I must think it improbable that the name of an important town, a name long familiar 
in English speech, underwent such a remarkable transformation owing to the vagaries 
of Norman scribes or the inability of Norman lords to attune their tongues to English 
pronunciation. If Sussex Normans did not stick at the pronunciation of Groombridge 
I know not why Grantbridge should have been a Shibboleth in Cambridgeshire. 
Professor Skeat thinks that the dropping of the r in Cambridge is due to a wish to 
avoid the use of gr and br in the same word. But in English speech, which in the 
pronunciation of English words is a far more determining cause than any Norman 
influence, we do not see this dislike. On the contrary, in the word bridegroom, the 
second element of which is A.S. guma, the second r is actually intruded by the 
influence of the first. In a book -reading, etymologising age it is possible that village 
names may undergo such transformations as Oakington for Hokiton and Pampisford 
for Pampisworth, but the local pronunciations Hockiton and Panser are living evidence 
for the unsophisticated names. The local use of the name Grantebrige was quite dead 
at the time of Hundred Rolls, six centuries ago. And there is a yet more fatal 
objection to the theory that Cantebrige arese from Grantebrycge by mispronunciation. 
If it were so we should expect to find the intermediate forms Gantebrig or Crantebrig, 
and neither exists. Apart from the neighbouring br neither Normans nor English had 
the smallest objection to the sound of initial (??\ They tolerated it in Gransden, in 
Graveley, in Gretton (medieval for Girton), and most noticeably of all in Grantchester. 

I am convinced that we must look for the origin of the name Cambridge in a 
different direction. In our investigation we must not forget the existence of another 
English Cambridge, a hamlet near the Severn in Gloucestershire. It also is situated 
on a stream which at the present day is called the Cam, and Cam is the name of 
a neighbouring hamlet. In the tenth century chronicle of Ethelwerd (Hist. Angl. 
Scriptores, ed. Savile, p. 482 b) this Gloucestershire Cambridge is called Cantbricge, and 
is mentioned as the scene of a fight with the Danes : ' parte in Eoa fluvii Sefern 
etiam transmeabant pontem qui vulgo Cantbricge nuncupatur.' It will hardly be 
contended that this too is a corruption of Grantbricge : indeed Ethelwerd knows East 
Anglian Cambridge too and calls it Grantanbricge (p. 480 b). The most obvious 
explanation — I do not say that it is necessarily the true one — is that the place 
Cantbrig in both cases took its name from a bridge over a stream which had the 
name of Cant or Cante. (The final e in the latter form may represent medieval 
English ee, meaning ' water,' a name constantly given to our Cambridgeshire river, 
and as constantly used in the form Grante, i.e. Grant river.) The name — presumably, 
like most river names, a British one — is probably identical with Kennet, or Kent, a 
sufficiently common river name, and actually found in the Cambridgeshire Kennet, 
which gives its name to Kentford. The vowel change seen in Canta-Kent is 
paralleled by that in Canterbury and the county name, Kent. 

The river Cam had a multiplicity of names in the middle ages, Granta, Ree, 
the Ee, &c., but Professor Skeat is right in saying that it was not called Canta before 



32 



THE DUAL ORIGIN OF THE TOWN OF CAMBRIDGE 



1372. Much less was it called Cam, a name of modern growth which is due to the 
false etymologising which has given us Grautchester for Grantsete. Both here and in 
Gloucestershire, by the process which Professor Skeat describes, Cantbridge has given 
rise to Cambridge, and from Cambridge has been evolved the river name Cam. But 
I think nevertheless that Cantebrig was the name of a bridge which spanned a stream 
called Cante. Cambrigge Brigge in the fifteenth century was the name given to the 
bridge which crossed the Cambridge watercourse, and by the same process which 
originated the name Cam the bridge lent its name to the stream. Long before the 
fifteenth century the stream had contracted to a mere trickle. When Edward I's 
jurors perambulated the Castle bounds it was known to them as 'the old ditch,' 
vetus fossatum, and they went through it, needing neither bridge nor ferry. The 
dwindled stream had evidently lost its name ; but the bridge, as an iron grating, 
remained in 1574. When the watercourse was a navigable stream, as we know that 
it was before the thirteenth century, the name of Cambrigge Brigge must have been 
simply Cante Brig. The name must have been given to it when Cantebrig was not 
the name of the town. In comparison with the Great Bridge the Cante Brig must 
always have been of small importance. It would be as unreasonable to give it the 
name of the town as to give the name of London Bridge to the little bridge which 
crossed the Fleet river. 

Professor Skeat is probably correct in saying that there is no written evidence 
for the form Cantebrig before 1142. For, though that and similar forms with initial 
C do occur in several deeds relating to the foundation of Barnwell Priory (in Liber 
Memorandorum) as well as in the charter of Henry I to the townsmen (in Cambridge 
Borough Charters) these are not original documents. But I think that there is good 
reason for believing that the name Cantebrig was applied at a very early date to 
the quarter near the Cante Brig, or to the whole of over-bridge Cambridge. Sturbridge 
and Small Bridges too were recognised quarters. The western Field, lying nearest 
this Cantebrig quarter, was known as Cambridge Field, just as Barnwell Field was 
the name of the Field next Barnwell. The ward beyond the Great Bridge was called 
' Parcelle of Cambridge ' as late as 1340 (Cooper's Annals). In the list of Amerce- 
ments of Cambridge in 1177 {Township and Borough, p. 171) there are three men 
who bore the quasi-surname de Cantebrige. Now if a John who hails from Cambridge 
takes up his abode at another town it is natural enough that he should be called 
John of Cambridge : but if he dwells among his own people the name fails to be 
distinctive, unless we assume that there was a particular locality in the town which 
was known as Cambridge. There was a well-known Sir Thomas de Cantebrige who 
lived in the fourteenth century, and we know as a definite fact that he owned the 
place called Dunnyngestede, which we can identify with the manor house now called 
the School of Pythagoras. (See the index of charters in my Priory of St Radegund 
and Master's History of Corpus Christi College, p. 24.) When the Conqueror's Castle 
was built nothing is more natural than that, from the bridge which was at its foot 
or the quarter in which it stood, it should come to be called Cambridge Castle. From 
the Castle and the Castle quarter the name spread within sixty years to the whole 
town, and I agree with Professor Skeat that the similarity in sound of Grantebrig 
and Cantebrig played some part in its extension. 



CAMBRIDGE: PRINTED BY JOHN CLAY, M.A. AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS. 




1